A minimally invasive laser technique
What are varicose veins?
They are twisted, enlarged, worm-like marks (often dark blue in color) near the surface of the skin on either the legs or knees. They are often a symptom of an underlying condition called venous insufficiency.
Varicose veins do not occur suddenly, but take many years for symptoms to develop. They may also become more frequently in people who usually stand or sit down for a long period of time. In healthy veins, blood flows in only one direction, from the foot to the heart. However, in the case of this disease, the blood does not flow freely and causes accumulation of blood in the veins of the legs. As it worsens, the blood distends the branches of superficial veins under the skin.
Signs and Symptoms
- Appearance of worm-like skin lesions in the leg, knee or ankle. This may occur on one or both sides.
- Sometimes they may involve pain, a color change, numbness and/or swelling.
- Affects mostly women.
Depending on the type and severity, there are different treatment options available.
- Compression stockings – for minor pain or small lesions.
- Sclerotherapy (drug injection) – used commonly for spider or small varicose veins.
- Surgery – called "surgical stripping", which is done in an operating room under deep anesthesia. This is a rather aggressive method which includes a long postoperative hospital stay, possible swelling complication, requires a considerable recovery period and leaves a scar.
- Endovenous Laser Therapy – latest and effective treatment.
Endovenous Laser Therapy
Endovenous laser therapy is a quick and minimally invasive laser technique that leaves no scar. It has a short and relatively pain free postoperative recovery period, and is performed under local anesthesia in an aseptic room. The treatment itself involves both a physical exam and an ultrasound examination to map the vein to be treated. It generally will take less than one hour to perform. After the affected leg is anesthetized locally, a thin laser fiber is inserted into the abnormal vein, delivering the laser energy in short pulses. The laser energy heats the vein, causing it to shrink and collapse, preventing blood from pooling. Walking immediately after the treatment, and resuming normal daily activity after one day, is encouraged. Heavy exercise, such as aerobic exercise or running, is prohibited for 2-3 weeks. Patients may experience bruising and soreness for 3-5 days after treatment. Pain is usually controlled with walking and the use of pain relief medications.
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