What are you options for getting rid of varicose veins? Here we’ll try and list all of the options open to you with a brief explanation of how they work. But remember, just because a treatment method sounds good to you, doesn’t mean it will be the most effective.
Treatments with lasers are becoming increasingly popular. The term laser surgery can actually include several different sorts of treatment like the following:
This is the least invasive laser treatment. It uses heat to treat varicose & spider veins which are close to the surface of the skin. However it won’t work as well on large veins. Lasers are good at targeting the different dark pigments (melanin) in our body which is how laser hair removal works. But laser for this treatment work in a similar way. They target the dark pigments in the blood which then heats it up and, because of the thermal energy, destroys it. The vein should then fade after several weeks, however several treatments may be needed.
Endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) works in a similar way. Usually using scanning equipment like ultrasound is used to locate the vein & monitor the progress of the procedure. Once the vein is found the laser is inserted into it via a catheter. The laser projects heat which causes the vein to close off and shrink. It’s more powerful than the simple treatment mentioned above but it’s more invasive. Before the treatment takes place a local aesthetic is required.
The treatment is essentially an injection into the vein. The substance used collapses the vain meaning the blood will take a different path. After enough time the veins will eventually fade.
Sometimes ultrasound may be used in order to guide the doctor. This is required if the vein is deeper under the skin than usual. It may take several sessions before all of the veins are treated.
Vein stripping requires surgery and usually requires a general anaesthetic. The treatment surgically removes the problem veins. Firstly two cuts are made – one above the vein and one below. Next a wire is then threaded through the vein all the way to the other side. This then allows the vein to be firmly grasped and pulled out. Vein ligation is also a surgical procedure, but instead of removing the vein, it’s simply tied off through the incision. This can leave the healthy parts intact.
This treatment is also surgical and requires (local) anaesthesia. However it’s less invasive than some of the other surgical options. Several tiny (so small they don’t need stitches) incisions are made, which are then used to remove the veins. You should be able to return to your daily routine right after the procedure. However compression stocking may need to be worn.
Compression stockings are one of the least invasive ways to treat varicose veins. It’s a method which should be tried first before other, more serious (and expensive!) treatments. Part of the reason varicose veins occur is because of the direction of the blood flow. Sometimes the valves become weak which allows the blood to flow backwards. This causes the veins to become deformed & lumpy. Compression stockings work by applying pressure to your veins. They apply the most pressure at the bottom of the legs, but the further up your leg they go, the less pressure is applied. This helps promote healthy (upwards) blood flow and circulation.
Stockings obviously can’t completely remove varicose veins, although they can reduce some of the symptoms associated with them. So pain & swelling may be reduced. It also help work as a prevention against further veins. Usually you’ll have to wear the stockings for long periods of time as directed by your doctor.