Venous Ablation / Varicose Veins
Venous ablation is a minimally invasive treatment done in our office using imaging guidance. After applying local anesthetic to the vein, one of our Interventional Radiologists insert a thin catheter, about the size of a strand of spaghetti, into the vein and guide it up the greater saphenous vein in the thigh. Then laser energy is applied to the inside of the vein. This heats the vein and seals the vein closed. By closing the greater saphenous vein, the twisted and varicosed branch veins, which are close to the skin, shrink and leg appearance improves. Once the diseased vein is closed, other healthy veins take over to carry blood from the leg, re-establishing normal flow.
Benefits of Venous Ablation Treatment
The treatment takes less than an hour and provides immediate relief of symptoms. The patient can return immediately to normal activity with little or no pain (there may be minor soreness or bruising, which can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers). Because the procedure does not require a surgical incision, just a nick in the skin about the size of a pencil tip, there are no scars or stitches. Traditionally, surgical ligation or vein stripping was the treatment for varicose veins, but these procedures can be quite painful and often have a long recovery time. The success rate for venous ablation is substantially higher than that for surgery (meaning the recurrence rate is low); in fact, the success rate for venous ablation ranges from 93% to 95%.
Sclerotherapy is the most common treatment for spider veins. The procedure takes about 30 minutes, during which time a solution called a “sclerosing agent” is injected into the veins. This causes the inter lining of the vein to stick together, which results in scar tissue that acts like a ‘glue’ to seal off the unwanted veins. There are few side effects, such as bruising around the injection site, or temporary discoloration of a light brown color along the vein; the patient can, however, return to normal activity immediately.
How many treatments will it take?
The number of treatments depends on the individual. One or possibly more treatments, depending on the extent of the spider veins. The average number of treatments needed is usually three.