Sclerotherapy is a treatment used for both spider veins and average-sized varicose veins. For this treatment, we inject a solution into the problematic veins to make the blood coagulate, set in inflammation, and eventually collapse the vein to reroute the blood to healthier veins.
Varicose veins treated with sclerotherapy do not come back. Each sclerotherapy session is a quick, mildly painful procedure, and is done on an outpatient basis. Once completed, the treated area is wrapped in a bandage to promote healing through the use of pressure.
While all procedures do have risks, sclerotherapy contain very few. Some patients have experienced slight bruising around their treated area as well as temporary freckling; both usually disappear in under a few weeks.
Some patients may require several injection sessions of sclerotherapy for optimal results scheduled about a month apart. Once the treatment is completed, the pain and appearance of the troublesome veins are highly improved. Many patients report smoother skin and little discoloration. Sclerotherapy is an optimal choice for most patients because it does not require the use of general anesthesia. It is a better and safer choice than surgery, as well as a short recovery period with most patients able to return to work within days.
This highly effective treatment for varicose veins does not require any surgery or scarring. Endovenous Laser Ablation is a non-intrusive procedure where veins are reduced or completely closed using laser energy. This highly effective procedure can be completed in under an hour and without hospitalization.
Endovenous Laser Ablation is an outpatient procedure this is administered by a professional in a doctor’s office setting. Ultrasound imaging is used to map the veins of the legs as well as determine where a laser fiber will be placed. Prior to beginning the procedure a local anesthetic will be administered for the patient’s comfort during the hour-long procedure. The laser fiber sends laser energy to targeted veins in order to seal the veins.
Except for vigorous exercise patients can return to regular activities following Endovenous Laser Ablation. Patients should schedule a follow up appointment one week after their original procedure, during this week patients should wear compression socks to warrant proper healing.
The cost of Endovenous Laser Ablation varies due to severity and number of sessions needed. Endovenous Laser Ablation will likely only be covered by insurance if it deemed medically necessary.
Ambulatory Phlebectomy is a less invasive, out-patient based version of vein stripping. First the skin and leg are numbed with local anesthetic, then a physician makes small incisions into the skin, and varicose veins are then removed using a surgical hook. Within two months the incisions are hardly visible, and within six months, no signs of surgery can be found. Most patients do not need to stop their normal activities because recovery from this procedure is so rapid. Walking and staying active after the procedure is encouraged.
This procedure is best used when veins are either too large or too twisted for EVLA to be effective. Micro Phlebectomy can also be used prior to EVLA if EVLA is used to treat varicose veins but large varicose veins are still present. It can also be used if the patient has an extensive network of varicose veins and can be completed in multiple sessions. Patients should schedule a follow up appointment one week after their original procedure, during this week patients should wear compression socks to warrant proper healing.
Complications are extremely rare with ambulatory phlebectomy, although serious complications are possible when faced with a medical procedure. Inconveniences such as blisters, infections, scars, bruising, hematomas, or loss of feeling in small areas may occur. These events are often short-term and resolve themselves without any lasting complications.
A Venous Reflux Exam is a test used to evaluate the valves inside the veins of the legs. The procedure is used to identify if a patient has a venous insufficiency where the veins have a difficult time circulating blood back to the heart from the legs. In healthy veins valves open and close to allow blood to flow to the heart. Usually due to large veins, the valves of veins with venous reflux remain open, which can cause blood to pool in the vein.
If a patient is experiencing vascular problems and requires a Venous Reflux Exam both legs should be tested. This non-intrusive exam is designed to pinpoint problems caused by damage inside the blood vessel, causing difficulties with blood flow in legs. A Venous Reflux exam is essential to identifying causes of poor circulation and preventing further damage.
Many health problems may arise from venous reflux such as varicose veins, pain throughout the legs, skin irritation, skin discoloration and ulcers. A venous reflux exam is recommended for any patient who shows any of these symptoms. For those who run a high risk of venous insufficiency, such as people who sit or stand in one place for long periods, women who have been pregnant, or individuals with a history of deep vein thrombosis, a venous reflux exam is recommended.
Before Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy, only surgery and laser treatments could eliminate enlarged varicose veins. Now, our trained specialists can locate the problem veins using an ultrasound. We then use a needle to lead the solution into the problematic veins. The fluid causes the vein to contract and then close by distressing the lining of the veins. Localized anesthesia is provided to ensure the utmost comfort.
An ultrasound before the Sclerotherapy is required in order to locate the spider or varicose veins. The clinician then assesses the best path to insert the Sclerotherapy and collapse the veins. In addition, an ultrasound is extremely helpful during the Sclerotherapy in order to ensure the treatment is accurately attacking the problem veins.
In order to fully reduce the veins, multiple sessions may be beneficial. After we reach the ideal outcome, the results are permanent. The recovery period for Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy is typically very short. Most patients can return to a majority of normal activities. We do, however, recommend patients limit physical exercise for several days. In addition, wearing compression hosiery for several days after the procedure can help speed the recovery process.
At LSU Health Care, Varicose veins can be treated by Foam Sclerotherapy sessions by our specialists. This method of treatment uses an agent that fills the entire cavity of the vein to lessen its appearance. The agent used is extremely similar to regular Sclerotherapy; however, this agent is mixed with air to give it a foamy texture. Foam Sclerotherapy is often used for larger vascular issues because it takes less solution to properly collapse the veins. Foam Sclerotherapy attaches the foam agent to the walls of the vein until it breaks down. After the break down, your body naturally absorbs the useless vein.
A localized anesthetic is placed at the site of injection, to eliminate most signs of discomfort. There might be a slight stinging feeling when the foam agent is injected, which subsides quickly.
Foam Sclerotherapy is more effective than lasers because it also breaks down the veins that lead to the spider veins. This makes recurrence of the unwanted veins less likely. One treatment often eliminates signs of the veins, however, sometimes as many as six treatments are needed to get the ideal result.
Patients should schedule appointments for two month periods until the desired reduction of varicose veins is achieved. Each Foam Sclerotherapy session only takes a few minutes and can greatly, or even completely reduce the appearance of varicose veins. We suggest wearing compression stockings for a week after each Sclerotherapy session. This helps to ensure your body continues circulating blood properly.
Compression stockings help calf muscles in circulating lymph fluid and blood throughout the legs. These stockings have maximum pressure in the ankles, and slowly release tension up the leg. This upward decrease in compression increases arterial pressure, decreases leg volume, and alleviate discomfort. This hosiery will prevent the occurrence of or progression of venous disorders. Even after curing ulcers and other venous issues, hosiery should be worn to prevent frequent recurrences.
Compression stockings should be worn immediately after venous leg procedures. If vein disorders are common in your family, they can also be worn for preventative purposes. Blood also tends to pool to the feet during long flights, pregnancy, and sedentary jobs. Our hosiery varies in length (knee, thigh, waist, maternity) and compression strength (20 mmHg to 50 mmHg). Our clinicians will recommend the right level of compression based on your specific needs.