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Treatments Available for Venous Reflux Disease

Treatments Available for Venous Reflux Disease

When it comes to getting proper treatment for varicose veins and spider veins, there are several options available. These options all help address venous reflux, which can result in bulging veins and pain in your legs, along with other difficulties. If you find that your legs feel heavy and achy, or they itch or feel restless a lot, you may have a type of venous disease that can be treated by vascular surgeons with minimally invasive methodsd. Getting the right treatment for your specific pattern of vein disease is key to making your legs look and feel healthy and comfortable again. When you work with a vein clinic that is up to date on the latest procedures, you can get the treatment that gives you proper relief from venous reflux.

Help Decide on a Venous Reflux Disease Treatment Plan

Even if a particular treatment you’ve read or heard about seems like the right one for you, there could be reasons it won’t work the way you hoped. Knowing whether you’re a good candidate for a particular vein treatment is part of your doctor’s job, and one that they should take very seriously. You’re putting your trust in them, and relying on them to tell you which procedure will be right for you and give you the results you want and need. Older procedures, like vein stripping, are still commonly used, but there are also newer options that can be very effective for the right candidate.

The key to deciding which treatment you should get is finding out whether you’re a good candidate for venous reflux treatment. That’s where vein doctors come in, because they know what treatments work and which ones should be avoided depending on how many veins you need treated and the severity of your vein issues. By working closely with your doctor, you can have a better chance at the results you want.

The Venefit Procedure, aka VNUS Closure, May be the Right Choice

The Venefit Procedure, formerly known as VNUS Closure, revolutionized vein treatment, almost entirely replacing vein stripping surgery. This procedure is much easier to tolerate than vein stripping, do not require general anesthesia, and they require less downtime before you get back to your normal activities. Cases are done in the office, bypassing the hospital altogether! In most cases, you will be back to walking and engaging in routine daily activities within 24 hours. There are fewer chances of complications as well so these procedures are considered safer and more effective than older methods for people who are good candidates for them.

Talking with the doctors at your vein clinic can give you all the information you need on the VNUS Closure or the Venefit Procedure, so you can make an informed decision. Then you will feel better about your venous reflux disease and have healthier, better looking legs.

Is Endovenous Laser Ablation Right for Me?

Understanding Endovenous Laser Ablation

Many patients suffering from varicose veins wonder whether they are a good candidate for endovenous laser ablation. Endovenous ablation is a minimally invasive procedure in which laser energy or radiofrequency is used to cauterize and close varicose veins, diminishing the associated appearance and symptoms. Various aspects are considered in each case to determine whether a patient will benefit from the procedure.

Am I a Good Candidate for the Procedure?

The only way to know for sure whether you’re a good candidate for the procedure and whether the procedure can help you meet your treatment goals is to see a board-certified vascular specialist for thorough examination and evaluation. We find that many patients come to us concerned with the appearance of their varicose veins without ever realizing they are suffering from any pain or discomfort until after the procedure, when they realize the improvement in the way their legs feel. Because varicose veins are a sign of venous disease, thorough evaluation is important.

Some of the things a vein doctor will take into consider when determining whether you’re a good candidate for the procedure and/or which procedure may be the best fit for you include:

  • The characteristics of your veins; straight, incompetent veins are treated differently than short, curved skin veins
  • Your chief complain and treatment goals
  • Your medical history, including allergies, medications, diagnoses, surgical history, and family history
  • Your vein size and pattern

Factors that may indicate you are a good candidate for venous treatment include:

  • You  have been diagnosed with venous reflux or varicose veins
  • Your varicose veins are large, bulging, swollen, red, or warm to the touch
  • You have experienced changes in the texture or coloration of your skin
  • You are experiencing pain, swelling, fatigue, burning, tingling, tenderness, or skin ulcers on the legs, ankles, or feet
  • You have suffered skin ulcers on the leg, ankles, or feet that did not heal as expected
  • You have tried other treatments (elevating your legs, losing weight, exercising) without relief

Any of these signs or symptoms of venous disease indicate that treatment should be sought and that you may be a good candidate for endovenous laser ablation or another vein treatment procedure.

What Causes Spider Veins?

Spider veins take their name from their web-like appearance.  For most sufferers, they represent a cosmetic concern, one that can lower self-confidence.  What most patients who visit a vein clinic want to know is what causes spider veins and how to get rid of them.

Overview of Spider Veins

According to the Stony Brook School of Medicine, as many as 80 million adults suffer from vein disease.  Many healthcare providers consider spider veins a type of varicose veins.  Although these vessels are similar, they have some differences.  Spider veins are smaller than varicose vessels.  They also lie closer to the skin’s surface.

While varicose veins are typically purple, blue, or even flesh-colored and have a rope-like look, spider veins usually look blue or red and have a characteristic spider web-like appearance.  These smaller vessels look flat and most often develop on the legs or the face.  They are officially known as telangiectasias.  While connected to the body’s vascular system, they do not form an essential portion of it.

Vein Doctors Explain Causes

The cause of spider veins is a structural problem in affected vessels.  One-way valves become damaged or defective with age, allowing blood that should be transported to the heart to fall backward and pool behind the respective valve.

The accumulation of blood causes the vessel to stretch and expand.  It eventually becomes a varicose vein.  Vascular surgeons refer to the process of valve failure and blood accumulation as venous insufficiency, also called venous reflux.

UCLA Health indicates that risk factors for spider veins include:

  • Family history
  • Gaining weight
  • Extended periods of standing or sitting
  • Pregnancy
  • Hormonal shifts, some connected to medication use

Spider Vein Treatment Options

Vein doctors use two primary types of treatment for patients with spider veins.  Both are performed at a vein clinic, are noninvasive treatments, and have short recovery periods.

Sclerotherapy is a so-called “gold standard” of spider vein therapy.  It is the most common treatment for spider and varicose veins, according to the Oregon Health & Science University.  Using a fine needle, a vascular surgeon injects a chemical solution known as a sclerosing agent into the targeted vein.  This causes the vessel to harden, close off, and eventually disappear after the body resorbs scar tissue.

Laser light treatments are effective for spider veins on the face.  They have also been used recently to treat varicose veins.  Laser energy causes the selected vein to close and eventually disappear.

Vascular surgeons generally reserve treatments such as the Venefit procedure, formerly known as the VNUS Closure, for larger and deeper vessels, typically varicose veins.

Unfortunately, no vein treatment can prevent the formation of new spider veins.  Taking preventive steps like losing weight or wearing compression stockings could help.  Some patients find it necessary to periodically return for treatment of new vessels.


What Causes Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are a common problem for patients as they age.  Many consider them a cosmetic annoyance.  However, these unattractive blood vessels are the source of discomfort and other medical issues for some sufferers.  Patients who visit a vein clinic frequently ask vein doctors about what causes varicose veins.

Varicose Veins Basics

Around 20 to 25 million Americans suffer from varicose veins, according to the UCDavis Health System.  These unsightly vessels are visible through the skin and typically resemble knotted cords.  They are usually purple or blue and often develop on the legs, although they can form anywhere on the body.  Hemorrhoids are actually a type of varicose vein.

The role of veins is to return blood from the lower parts of the body to the heart.  The one-way valves in veins that prevent blood from flowing backward play a crucial role in the development of varicose vessels.  Patients with varicose veins sometimes experience medical complications such as blood clots, leg swelling, phlebitis, pain, and skin changes, MedlinePlus reports.

Vascular Surgeons Outline Causes and Risk Factors

Vein doctors indicate that venous insufficiency is the cause of varicose veins.  Valves sometimes weaken with age or as the result of injury.  As a result, blood, already fighting gravity, flows backward and pools behind a defective valve.  This pooling increases pressure inside the vein, causing the vessel to become enlarged.  In some predisposed individuals, stretching of vessel walls results in varicose veins or their smaller cousins, spider veins.

The University of Chicago Medicine cites these risk factors:

  • Aging
  • Injury to a leg
  • Obesity
  • Hormonal factors
  • Family history
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Pregnancy

Vascular surgeons also cite vascular birth defects, being female, and sitting or standing for extended periods as factors that raise risk.

Varicose Vein Treatment Options

Physicians can offer sufferers several kinds of options to get rid of varicose veins or at least minimize their impact.  However, no vein treatment will prevent new vessels from forming.

MedlinePlus categorizes available treatments as:

  • Conservative measures:  Losing weight, elevating the legs, and wearing compression stockings
  • Sclerotherapy:  Injecting a solution that causes a vein to harden, then disappear
  • Ablation:  Utilizing heat to eliminate a vein via a technique like the Venefit procedure, formerly called the VNUS Closure, that uses radiofrequency energy
  • Microphlebectomy:  Using tiny cuts through which physicians remove targeted veins
  • Bypass:  Rerouting blood around a blocked vein via surgery
  • Angioplasty with stenting:  Opening a vein that is narrowed or blocked using a balloon and placing a small mesh tube in the vessel to keep it open

Treatment for varicose veins begins with a consultation with a vascular specialist at a vein clinic.  This physician will indicate the most appropriate options for each patient.  Fortunately, thanks to the development of high-tech procedures, extreme therapies like vein stripping that were once the norm are seldom used.