Varicose veins are unsightly, swollen, painful veins that appear below the skin, causing unsightly patterns just below the skin. They occur when faulty valves in the veins allow blood to pool where it should not, causing a buildup that results in swelling.
Approximately 1 in 4 adults suffers from some degree of varicose veins. Pregnant women and those who are overweight are more susceptible to their development than active people, and women develop them more frequently than men (sorry, ladies). While varicose veins rarely need treatment for health reasons, there are times when they become painfully swollen, achy, and uncomfortable. For this reason, treatment for varicose veins should be sought.
Treatment for varicose veins
Most people who suffer from varicose veins want them treated for cosmetic reasons, while others have physical discomfort that requires they be treated to relieve pain. Several options exist for treatment, including:
If veins are especially painful and swollen, they will need to be surgically removed. Surgery takes place via local anesthetic, and in most cases the patient can go home the same day. When surgery is required on both legs, it is typical for a patient to spend the night in the hospital.
- Ligation and stripping
During a stripping process, two incisions are made in a patient’s leg—one near the groin and the other near the ankle. One end of the vein is tied off, and a special instrument is used to thread the vein from the inside and pull it out of the leg. Ligation and stripping can sometimes cause bleeding, swelling, and pain. In rare occasions, it can result in DVT, or deep vein thrombosis. After this process, compression stockings and a recovery time of about 1-3 weeks is expected before normal activity can be resumed.
This process involves injecting a chemical into small and medium sized veins, causing them to scar up and close. Over the next several weeks, they should fade below the surface of the skin, improving the appearance of the leg. In some cases, veins may need to be injected more than once for the desired effect.
- Radiofrequency ablation
Similar to the stripping process, small incisions are made at the top and bottom of the leg. A catheter is inserted into the vein with a special probe that emits an radio frequency that heats up the vein and causes it to collapse.
- Endovenous laser treatment
Similar in treatment to the radiofrequency treatment, this procedure burns the vein shut, rendering it inactive. It will atrophy and sink below the skin, becoming less visible. This procedure can result in nerve injury, but recovery will usually remedy the damage.
What to expect during recovery time
Recovery time depends largely on the type of procedure that you choose. For most patients, a full recovery takes about two weeks; you may initially feel a burning or stinging sensation, and with stripping and laser procedures you might experience some bruising and bleeding, but time will help in lessening these uncomfortable side effects.
Keep bandages, dressing, and compression stockings on as directed by your vein doc to speed up recovery time, and in no time, you’ll be able to resume your normal level of activity. Your legs will look and feel better than ever.
Metro Vein Centers: The Vein Professionals!
At Metro Vein Centers in West Bloomfield, Illinois, vein doc Anthony Kaminsky treats patients with all types of varicose veins; his commitment to patient care, exceptional professionalism, and quality training make him one of the best in the business. If you have problem veins that need repair, make an appointment with Dr. Kaminsky today to restore your legs to their healthy and beautiful state once more.