How Do You Treat Varicose Veins? Is It Painful?
The good news is that there is a new, minimally invasive method for treating varicose veins that is significantly better than the old method.
The old method for treating varicose veins was to have surgery. Surgery involves considerable preparation, general anesthesia, pain in the affected areas, and a lengthy recovery period. The medical laser technology that we use eliminates all of those factors.
First, our treatment is minimally invasive, which means that our entry point into your vein is extremely small, not even requiring stitches. Second, there is no “recovery” to speak of. In fact, you will be up and walking as soon as the treatment is completed and able to return immediately to full normal activity.
The procedure itself only lasts approximately 60 minutes, and it is performed right in our office. We use local anesthesia to numb your leg, insert the laser fiber into the target vein, and then turn the laser on. Within minutes, your varicose veins will be eliminated. The only uncomfortable part of the procedure is the local anesthesia injections that we need to give you in order to numb your leg. The rest is easy!
You may feel some discomfort in your leg for about 1-2 weeks, but it is manageable and usually does not require any medication. Bruising will also be present in the leg for about 3-4 weeks. The diagrams below illustrate how the laser fiber is placed inside the vein, and how it closes the vein after it is turned on.
The laser fiber is inserted into the varicose vein through a very small entry point in your leg, usually somewhere near the knee.
The laser fiber is activated and is pulled back out of the vein. As it is pulled back, the laser fiber “closes” the vein. This vein has now permanently been closed and will no longer cause the symptoms associated with varicose veins. The body will heal this “burned” vein over the next few weeks.
There are also other methods for treating varicose veins, and these can be discussed at the time of your consultation. Another commonly performed procedure for varicose veins is called Ambulatory Phlebectomy. In short, it involves using a small hook to pull out smaller varicose veins from a small entry point in the skin. Commonly, a combination of Laser therapy and Ambulatory Phlebectomy is employed for optimal results.
What Are The Side Effects?
All medical procedures have risks. While this laser treatment and other associated treatments for varicose veins are exceedingly safe, there are some risks that potential candidates should be aware of. Although rare, one cosmetic concern is mild darkening of the skin in the treated areas. In most cases, this skin darkening will lighten with time, but it may occasionally take up to 4-6 months. Other risks that should be discussed with your physician include bleeding, nerve damage, thrombophlebitis, skin ulceration, leg swelling, deep venous clots, or pulmonary embolism. Overall, the benefits of this procedure far outweigh the risks, and Dr. Lin will be happy to discuss any concerns you may have about the procedure, or vein care in general.
Will My Insurance Cover Treatment?
If you have clinical symptoms arising from venous disease, Medicare and almost all private insurance will cover the cost for treatment. As always, you will need to check with your insurance provider to determine exact coverage based on your health plan. We also offer cash price discounts in the event that you do not have insurance. Please call our office for more information.