New treatments for varicose and spider veins provide rapid relief to venous disease sufferers without the hassle of checking into a hospital. Previously, patients had to undergo surgery to remove the greater saphenous vein, which runs the length of your leg from your thigh to your foot. This procedure was expensive, painful, required weeks of recovery time, and had a multitude of side effects. In recent years, advances in the vein industry have made it possible for patients to receive treatment that is quick and affordable with minimal downtime and side effects.
5 Non-Invasive Treatments for Varicose Veins and Spider Veins
Listed below are the top 5 non-invasive procedures offered for varicose veins and spider veins at North Shore Vein Center in Long Island, NY:
- Endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) — replaces the primitive and painful vein stripping procedure by inserting a laser fiber directly into the varicose vein through a small incision and heating the inside of it to seal it shut. For example, the CoolTouch laser vein removal system is the most comfortable laser treatment available due to its 1320 nm wavelength technology, which is more effective and less painful than other lasers. Treatment usually takes 45 minutes.
- Ambulatory phlebectomy — also known as a “hook” phlebectomy, this procedure is the micro-extraction of bulging varicose veins through very small incisions, which usually heals completely without any scarring. This treatment typically takes about 30-60 minutes.
- Sclerotherapy injections — involves using a tiny needle to inject an FDA-approved solution called Sotradecol directly into the spider vein, causing it to seal shut and re-divert the blood through the normal veins. Generally, normal activities can be resumed immediately as the treated vein is absorbed over time.
- Ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy (Chemical Ablation) — effective in treating varicose veins that are below the skin’s surface, Sotradecol is injected into the diseased vein using an ultrasound to guide the placement. This ensures that the medication gets placed accurately into the vein. This requires no anesthesia or sedation and you can return to work immediately.
- Foam sclerotherapy — uses a foamed solution for treating varicose veins that are below the skin’s surface. By mixing the Sotradecol with air or another type of gas using mechanical pumps, the solution is given greater surface area, making it more successful in thickening the blood vessel wall and sealing off blood flow. The foam solution does not mix with the blood, as is the case of the liquid solution. Instead it actually displaces the blood, which prevents the solution from becoming diluted and increases it’s effectiveness. Afterward, compression stockings are applied to the leg to keep pressure on the veins so they do not fill up with blood when the patient stands up.
All of the aforementioned procedures are effective and safe for the treatment of varicose veins and spider veins. Talk to a board-certified vein specialist to understand which is best for you. The treatment you receive will depend on the type of vein (varicose vs. spider), size of the vein, among other considerations.
Reviewed February 14, 2017