Varicose veins affect one out of two people aged 50 and older, and 15 to 25% of the adult population.
Varicose veins are often painful and can be unsightly, but are usually not life-threatening. However, if left untreated, they may get worse over time and can lead to more serious conditions, including inflammation and leg ulcers.
Vein Ablation is a minimally invasive procedure, which closes the abnormal vein close to the skin, thereby shrinking and improving its appearance.
When Is This Procedure Conducted?
Although this procedure may be used for cosmetic purposes, it is more commonly used to help alleviate symptoms associated with varicose veins that cause circulatory problems. Leg symptoms can include:
- aching pain
- skin irritation or ulcers
How Does This Procedure Work?
Varicose Vein Ablation is a minimally invasive outpatient treatment for venous insufficiency that is performed using ultrasound guidance.
After applying local anaesthetic to the skin over the vein, an interventional radiologist inserts a thin tube known as a catheter, about the size of a strand of spaghetti, into the abnormal saphenous vein. Through this catheter, laser or radiofrequency energy is applied to the inside of the vein to seal it closed.
Reflux within one of the saphenous veins can lead to pooling in its tributaries (branches), causing visible varicose veins to develop and more blood for the surrounding normal veins to send back toward the heart. By closing the abnormal vein, the varicose veins—which are close to the skin—shrink and improve in appearance. In addition, once the diseased vein is closed, the surrounding healthy veins are no longer burdened by the leaking blood flow. Other healthy veins take over to carry blood from the leg, re-establishing normal flow.
How Will I Feel After The Procedure?
After the procedure, you will be required to wear a compression stocking to help reduce bruising, tenderness, and minimise the rare possibility that blood clots may form.
You may resume your normal activities immediately, with the exception of air travel or prolonged sitting (such as a long car trip). You should remain active and not spend too much time in bed during the recovery period since this increases the chance of complications.
How Successful Is Varicose Vein Ablation?
Varicose Vein Ablation has a success rate of between 93-97% and a significant improvement in the quality of life.
Varicose Vein Ablation has largely replaced surgical vein stripping in many countries as the first-line treatment for varicose veins.
Summary of Benefits of Varicose Vein Ablation
- The treatment takes less than an hour and provides immediate relief of symptoms
- Immediate return 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
- No scars or stitches – because the procedure does not require a surgical incision, just a nick in the skin, about the size of a pencil tip
- When compared with traditional vein stripping, Varicose Vein Ablation has fewer complications, is associated with much less pain during recovery and offers a less invasive alternative to standard surgery
- High success rate and low recurrence rate compared to surgery
- The success rate ranges for Varicose Vein Ablation ranges from 93-97%
Learn more about the treatment at http://www.sirweb.org/patients/varicose-veins/