Varicose vein treatment is also called and endovenous ablation of varicose veins. Many people have small areas of spider veins, those unsightly purple-reddish veins that look like tiny spiders, most commonly found on the lower extremities. Varicose veins bulge and appear on the surface of the skin, or severe, raising large, thick, and raised sections of engorged veins. If these engorged veins burst, open sores called venous ulcers may appear.
Varicose vein ablation treatments are considered minimally invasive procedures that use laser energy or radio frequency to cauterize or burn as well as properly close swollen enlarged veins in the lower legs.
If you're on your feet all day and blood pools in the lower extremities for long periods, the veins become engorged with blood. In some people, varicose veins prove not only embarrassing and unsightly, but also uncomfortable and painful. In some cases, varicose veins are caused by an inability of the blood to adequately pump back toward the heart in a condition known as venous insufficiency.
Regardless of the reason for your varicose veins, ablation treatments may help reduce severity of the appearance of moderate to severe varicose veins. The treatment involves sealing off vessels that no longer work properly, and helping divert blood flow to nearby veins in order to prevent lower extremity swelling, pain and difficulty walking or standing.
If you experience of throbbing, aching pain in your calves or ankles, chronic swelling, skin tenderness, open sores or ulcers, or discoloration or inflammation known as phlebitis, you may be a perfect candidate for varicose venous ablation treatment.
One common approach to the treatment of spider veins is called sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy is performed by injecting a solution into affected blood vessels using very thin needles.
For severe varicose veins, varicose vein ablation is recommended. The approach to your ablation treatment will depend on the severity and location of your varicose veins. During common varicose vein ablation treatments, several pieces of equipment are utilized. These include:
The ultrasound machine is also called a scanner, comprised of a computer and various electronics. A transducer is a handheld tool that scans blood vessels so the doctor can view the location of the varicose vein as well as determined whether adequate blood flow and function is present. Images are displayed on a video screen on the ultrasound machine.
The catheter is a long, thin tube that looks like a common, thin drinking straw, and fiber optic, laser fibers, or radio frequency electrodes carry electrical energy or heat from the machine to the varicose vein for use in cauterizing damaged or nonfunctioning veins.
During this common outpatient procedure, a radiologist uses image-guided technologies to pinpoint and treat varicose veins. Depending on the severity of the varicose vein, he may use a topical anesthetic cream or numb the area was a local anesthetic, depending on the approach to the surgical procedure.
Utilizing the ultrasound technology, the doctor is able to visualize the varicose or enlarged vein. The catheter or a vascular access sheath is then inserted into a small opening in the skin and carefully situated inside the varicose vein. A radio frequency electrode or laser fiber is threaded through the catheter into the vein and energy or heat is applied. Heat reduces the diameter of the vein and seals it off, preventing excess blood from pooling in the damaged vein.
The cost of varicose vein ablation depends on the number of areas and the severity of the varicose veins being treated. In the United States, radio frequency ablation of varicose veins can cost $200 to $500 dollars per treatment area. In the U.S., sclerotherapy may cost anywhere from several hundred to several thousand, again depending on number of areas to be treated as well as severity.
Travelers visiting foreign medical destinations in India or Central Europe will find cheaper vascular procedures, often saving between 35% and 50% on medical costs.
A radiologist or vascular surgeon may treat varicose veins and spider veins, depending on severity. Many physicians at world-class facilities around the world have some expertise in the treatment of varicose veins when it comes to minimally invasive procedures. Complex surgical procedures are performed by a vascular surgeon or specialist.
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