"The Know" is an informational resource concerning vein treatment options. It contains valuable information for prospective patients, physicians as well as those in the vein treatment industry. We will be regularly posting educational articles, video logs and other pertinent information. We encourage your feedback and welcome any suggestions that you feel may improve the blog.
March 2012 Blog Archive
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Sclerotherapy: A Solution for Varicose and Spider Veins
Are you looking forward to spring, but dread revealing your blue-veined and blotchy legs in shorts and bathing suits? You are not alone. Roughly 50 to 60 percent of adults suffer from unsightly varicose or spider veins, or some other vein problem. Luckily, there are methods for removing or significantly diminishing the appearance of those varicose and spider veins. After a short series of treatment sessions, you may be ready to try on a whole new wardrobe!
One of the most popular treatments for removing varicose and spider veins is sclerotherapy. This treatment involves injecting smaller, problem veins on the legs, arms and face with a sterile solution (sclerant) that irritates the lining of the blood vessel. This irritation to the blood vessel causes it to swell and break down, becoming scar tissue that will fade from view. Your specialist treats the problem veins that are not essential to circulation, and are just beneath the surface of the skin. Your blood circulation is carried out by the healthier veins located deeper in your body.
How it Works
Sclerotherapy is a non-invasive procedure that rarely requires any anesthetic, and can be performed as an outpatient service in a clinic or doctor’s office. Very fine needles are used, and one injection is typically required for every inch of vein treated. Each treatment session will take between 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of veins and size of the area that is being treated. The doctor will apply a bandage to the treated area, and will likely recommend that you use support hose or socks that provide light compression for a few days following treatment.
Most people require a few sessions scheduled over several weeks to completely diminish their varicose and spider veins, though some patients see results after just one or two treatments. Sclerotherapy is most often used on small- to medium-sized veins. A range of other techniques are used to treat larger vein problems.
Side Effects and Follow Up
Some patients receiving sclerotherapy experience some mild pain, stinging, burning or itching to the treated areas. These side effects can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medications. Any associated bruising usually disappears after a few days.
Most vascular specialists recommend that patients receiving sclerotherapy walk regularly after treatment to encourage good circulation, and that they avoid more strenuous workouts and activities for several days.
Click here to find a vein specialist or to learn more about the many vein treatments available!
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Why Varicose Veins Are a Real Health Concern
Most people will agree that varicose veins – most often appearing on the legs – can be unsightly, but can they cause serious health problems? Sometimes varicose veins can be harmful to your health, causing conditions that require immediate treatment. Some health conditions associated with varicose veins include deep vein thrombosis, thrombophlebitis, venous ulcers and bleeding.
Health Conditions Related to Varicose Veins:
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
The most serious health concern stemming from varicose veins is deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which happens when a blood clot is trapped in a deep vein, most commonly in the leg or pelvis, but sometimes in the arm. DVT can occur without symptoms, but usually is accompanied by pain and swelling in the affected area, and may include redness, warmth and increased bulging of the superficial veins. The danger of DVT is that a blood clot can dislodge and travel to the lungs or another vital organ, leading to breathing problems, a heart attack, stroke or other medical emergency that requires immediate treatment. DVT is considered a life-threatening medical emergency, so if you or someone you know experiences swelling in the limbs, especially if the swelling is accompanied by the other symptoms outlined above, you should consult a medical doctor immediately to rule out DVT.
There are several tests available to diagnose DVT, including blood tests and ultrasound. If you have DVT, a specialist can use one of many treatments that have been developed for DVT, including blood thinners, stents and techniques for disintegrating blood clots.
Superficial thrombophlebitis, a blood clot or inflammation of the walls of a vein just below the surface of the skin, is another health condition that can occur in people who have varicose veins. The symptoms of thrombophlebitis are roughly the same as those associated with DVT, with swelling and redness affecting the vein. You should contact a medical professional immediately to rule out DVT.
If you are diagnosed with superficial thrombophlebitis, rather than DVT, it is usually a harmless condition and is not considered life threatening. However, superficial thrombophlebitis can recur and cause longstanding discomfort. Rarely, it can progress to DVT. Most often the treatment will be geared towards relieving discomfort with over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and by applying a hot compress to the affected area. You should follow up with a specialist to manage any ongoing problems.
People who suffer from varicose veins sometimes get venous ulcers, which are open sores that can occur when they get older and have other health issues, such as diabetes, arterial disease or poor circulation. If you have ulcers appearing on your legs or other areas where you have varicose veins, you should consult your doctor. Treatment to heal your ulcers can take several weeks, and there is a chance of recurrence, which should be monitored by your specialist.
Because varicose veins have higher pressure than healthy veins, are thin-walled and protrude, they are vulnerable to heavy bleeding when they are bumped or scratched. If you bump or scratch a varicose vein and it begins to bleed, you should lie down and elevate the leg. Apply direct pressure with a clean cloth until the bleeding stops, and contact your doctor for treatment.
There are a range of treatments available for treating varicose veins and reducing your risk of serious health concerns. Your specialist may also recommend some lifestyle changes. A few of the many treatments for varicose veins include:
• Laser and Pulse-Light Therapy
• Endovenous Ablation Therapy
• Transilluminated Powered Phlebectomy
• Surgery: Vein Ligation and Stripping
When to Call a Doctor
Most mild symptoms related to varicose veins can be treated at home with minor lifestyle adjustments like wearing compression socks, avoiding long periods of sitting or standing, and elevating the affected limbs. However, you should call a doctor when:
• You develop a tender lump develops on or near a varicose vein
• You have swelling in the feet or ankles
• Walking or standing is painful
• Your leg suddenly becomes red, swollen and painful
• Skin over a varicose vein bleeds on its own or when bumped or scratched
Click here to find a vein specialist near you or to learn more about varicose veins.