If you are like 23 percent of adults in the United States, according to the American Heart Association, you have varicose veins. Vein doctors perform thousands of varicose vein treatment procedures each year, helping people just like you overcome unattractive and sometimes uncomfortable bulging veins in your lower legs and calves. You may have heard about various treatments for varicose veins but feel confused by the complicated names and mysterious acronyms. To help you decide if vein treatment is right for you, the vascular surgeons at Kimmel Institute would like to help you understand how the various treatments work to reduce the unsightly red and blue twisted varicose veins that are ruining the smooth, beautiful appearance of the skin on your legs.
How Various Varicose Vein Treatment Strategies Work
Lifestyle changes and compression stockings
Lifestyle changes can prevent varicose veins from developing, getting worse or causing pain. Take frequent breaks if you must sit or stand for a long time for work or hobbies to give overworked veins in your legs a break. Do not cross your legs when you sit as it pinches off veins and prevents blood from flowing. Avoid tight clothes, especially clothing that is tight around your waist to improve blood flow in your trunk. Elevate your legs, preferably above the level of your heart, to help blood move from your feet up towards your heart. Lose weight, as being overweight can negatively affect circulation.
Physical exercise stimulates circulation. Pumping your leg muscles opens valves that keep blood trapped in your lower legs. Do not wear heels, as flat shoes help tone your calf muscles in a way that promotes good circulation.
Compression stockings create gentle external pressure that pushes blood up and out of the veins in your legs. This decreases swelling and keeps blood from pooling in your lower legs.
Vascular surgeons now offer a wide variety of vein treatment options, often performed at an outpatient vein clinic.
Vein doctors perform ambulatory microphlebectomy for patients with large visible veins. In this procedure, the surgeon makes multiple tiny incisions, measuring 1 to 2 mm long, over the course of the varicose vein. The doctor then uses special instruments to draw the diseased vein through the incisions. Ambulatory microphlebectomy usually provides excellent cosmetic results, causes minimal discomfort and features a short recovery time.
Ultrasound Guided Chemical Ablation
Doctors perform ultrasound guided chemical ablation when a patient’s veins are too deep for laser treatment. In this procedure, the surgeon uses ultrasound guidance to inject an FDA-approved chemical into a precise location in the varicose vein. The chemical causes the vein walls to stick together, closing the vein. The body diverts blood to nearby veins and eventually absorbs the tissue left behind by the closed varicose vein.
For more information about how varicose vein treatment works, make an appointment at your local vein clinic.