Varicose veins are bulging, twisting veins that protrude from the surface of the skin. While many people seek treatment due to their unsightly nature, they can also create uncomfortable symptoms by inhibiting blood flow throughout the legs. If varicose veins have left you feeling self-conscious about the appearance of your legs or you experience routine aching, swelling or leg pain, then come on into Advanced Vein & Laser Centre to learn about our minimally invasive and nonsurgical treatment options.
What Is Venous Insufficiency?
Our arteries are in charge of supplying oxygenated blood to all of the vital organs, leaving our vast network of veins responsible for directing blood back toward the heart after it has been stripped of its nutrients. To keep blood moving upwards and back toward the heart, veins utilize a system of one-way valves and muscle contractions to pump blood against the force of gravity.
Venous insufficiency occurs when these one-way valves begin to fail. Many factors can cause venous insufficiency, including aging, genetics, a sedentary lifestyle, prolonged periods of sitting or standing, and obesity. Even those who live a healthy and active lifestyle are not immune to venous insufficiency, with an estimated 50 percent of men and women developing it in their lifetime. Aging is one of the most common and unavoidable causes of venous insufficiency, as the vein walls can weaken and stretch with age, opening the one-way valves and allowing backflow.
With blood trapped in the legs due to venous insufficiency, the veins begin to fill and bulge outwards, creating unsightly and sometimes painful varicose veins that appear as twisting, ropey skin protrusions. In addition to cosmetic concerns, varicose veins can cause aching, swelling, mild pain, skin irritation and discoloration, leading many patients to seek treatment for their uncomfortable symptoms.
In the past, varicose vein treatment was limited to painful vein stripping techniques that removed the vein entirely. Today, modern advances allow us to eliminate varicose veins and treat venous insufficiency using minimally invasive, nonsurgical methods.
Endovenous Laser Vein Treatment
Endovenous laser vein treatment (EVLT) is a nonsurgical procedure that eliminates varicose veins using laser energy. The procedure is minimally invasive, resulting in very little downtime and limited side effects.
While EVLT is relatively painless, patients may receive topical anesthesia if needed to help them experience a comfortable treatment. At the start of an EVLT procedure, Dr. Rosenfeld makes a small nick in the skin to provide access to the problem vein. He then inserts a tiny catheter into the vein using ultrasound guidance to ensure precise treatment. A thin laser probe is passed through the catheter into the vein and emits thermal energy to the surrounding vein walls.
When exposed to the thermal energy of the laser probe, the inner lining of the vein collapses and seals off the problem vein. With the vein closed off, the body can naturally redirect blood flow to healthier veins located deeper within the legs, out of sight. The treated vein is then gradually absorbed by the body.
Endovenous Chemical Vein Ablation
Endovenous chemical vein ablation operates on a similar principle as EVLT but utilizes a different treatment method for eliminating varicose veins. While the presence of varicose veins is often apparent due to their protrusion from the skin, some are located deeper within the legs and may not be visibly present. Deeper varicose veins may not cause cosmetic concerns for the patient but can induce painful and uncomfortable symptoms that require treatment.
Because nonvisible varicose veins are more difficult to target, Dr. Rosenfeld often opts to use chemical ablation to treat them. During chemical ablation, a medicated sclerosing agent is injected into the veins under ultrasound guidance. The sclerosant irritates the inner vein lining, causing the vein to collapse and seal, similar to the effects of EVLT. The body then harmlessly absorbs the treated vein and safely redirects blood flow.
Minimized Downtime and Side Effects
As nonsurgical treatment methods, side effects and downtime are minimized following EVLT and chemical ablation. Patients will need to elevate their feet for a few hours after their appointments and walk at regular intervals to promote healthy circulation. Most patients find they can return to work and normal activities the very next day. Common side effects may include bruising, tightness, itching and mild pain that dissipate within two to three weeks.
Compression garments and bandages can be used to minimize side effects and speed up recovery time. Dr. Rosenfeld provides a list of detailed post-treatment instructions to all of his patients to ensure a healthy and quick recovery.
Nonsurgical Treatment at Advanced Vein & Laser Centre
At Advanced Vein & Laser Centre, we are proud to be one of the premier vein clinics in the Greater Chicago area. By offering minimally invasive and nonsurgical varicose vein and spider vein procedures, we provide our patients with effective treatment that does not interrupt their busy lifestyles. If venous insufficiency is affecting your self-confidence or causing uncomfortable symptoms, then schedule a consultation with Dr. Rosenfeld to discuss EVLT and chemical ablation. He will help determine if you are a good candidate for either procedure and will develop an individualized treatment plan that best addresses all of your concerns.
To schedule your consultation, call Advanced Vein & Laser Centre today at 847-367-4040.