For many, they're a cosmetic concern. For others, they can lead to dangerous health issues like circulatory problems, blood clots, and ulcers.
Caused by faulty valves that lead to blood pooling in the legs, varicose veins affect up to 25 percent of women and up to 10 percent of men.
Today we look at one of the newer procedures that are getting rid of the veins with a lot less pain.
Varicose veins, they can be ugly, painful, or both.
"It does run in my family," says Linda Grim a varicose vein patient.
For 12 years, Linda Grim had persistent swelling and was on her way to inheriting the unwanted heirlooms.
"At one point my right foot had at least a full shoe size different than my left foot," explains Grim.
Methodist Hospital's Doctor Eric Peden says this minimally invasive ablation procedure is becoming the new standard for many doctors.
"For me this is my preferred treatment," says Eric Peden, MD, Vascular Surgeon at Methodist Hospital.
It's the VenaCure 1470. Linda's having it done.
"That white we see is basically treating the vein and burning the vein wall," says Dr. Peden.
Causing varicose veins to collapse on themselves and vanish. Doctor Peden says there are similar catheter procedures.
“With VenaCure the tip is covered so it doesn't stick to the vein wall,” explains Dr. Peden. “It should lead to less damage to the surrounding tissues, which means less discomfort for her afterwards and less bruising."
VenaCure patients have seen their varicose veins go from there to disappearing. Linda hopes the 25 minute treatment cures her constant swelling. In the meantime, she's walking out of the doctor's office pain-free and varicose vein free.
Doctor Peden says just about everyone with varicose veins can be treated with it. He tells us the procedure is covered by insurance if a patient is symptomatic and hasn't responded to other conservative treatments.
TOPIC: Making Varicose Veins Vanish
REPORT: MB # 3575
BACKGROUND: Varicose veins are enlarged, gnarled veins. It can happen to any vein, but it is most common in the feet and legs because standing and walking increases the pressure in the veins of the lower body. Some people are only concerned about the cosmetic aspect of varicose veins, but others can have discomfort and aching pain. They can lead to more serious problems, for example, varicose veins can signal a higher risk of circulatory problems. (Source: www.mayoclinic.com)
SYMPTOMS: Usually varicose veins do not cause pain. Signs of varicose veins can include veins that are blue or dark purple in color, and veins that seem to be twisted and bulging. Painful symptoms can occur in some individuals. They include: achy or heavy feeling in the legs; burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in the lower legs; itching around one or more of the veins; worsened pain after standing or sitting for a long time; and skin ulcers near the ankle, that can mean you have a serious form of vascular disease that requires medical attention. (Source: www.mayoclinic.com) Exercise, elevating the legs, or wearing compression stockings are some ways to help relieve pain. Causes of varicose veins can include age, sex, family history, obesity, and standing for long periods of time. As a person ages, the veins can lose elasticity that will cause them to stretch. The valves in the veins will become weak and will allow blood to move backward instead of toward the heart. The blood will pool in the veins and the veins will become larger and varicose. Women are more likely to develop the condition. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, pre-menstruation, or menopause can be factors. If other family members have varicose veins, then there will be a greater chance of inheriting them. Also, being overweight puts added pressure on the veins, resulting in them becoming varicose. (Source: www.mayoclinic.com)
NEW TECHNOLOGY: If a patient does not respond to self-care, then the doctor may suggest other treatments including: Sclerotherapy, laser surgeries, catheter-assisted procedures, vein stripping, ambulatory phlebectomy, or endoscopic vein surgery. In Sclerotherapy, the doctor injects the veins with a solution that scars the veins. Laser surgeries will close off smaller varicose veins. In catheter-assisted procedures the doctor will insert a catheter into the vein and heat the tip. The heat will destroy the vein by causing it to collapse and seal shut. Vein stripping involves removing a long vein through small incisions. Ambulatory phlebectomy is when the doctor removes smaller veins through tiny skin punctures. Endoscopic vein surgery is only needed in advanced cases involving leg ulcers. The doctor will use a thin camera inserted in the leg to visualize and close the veins, then he will remove the veins through small incisions. (Source: www.mayoclinic.com) The newest technology available to treat varicose veins is the FDA approved VenaCure 1470nm laser. It is a water specific laser. It targets water as the chromosphere to absorb the laser energy. The vein structure is mostly water, therefore, it is theorized that the 1470nm laser is able to heat the vein effectively with little chance of collateral heating. (Source: www.venacure-evlt.com) The laser is delivered through the NeverTouch gold-tip fiber, which maximizes efficiency and minimizes post-operative pain and bruising. It is designed to eliminate the risk of direct contact between the laser fiber and vein wall. (Source: www.investors.angiodynamics.com)
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Eric Peden, MD
Methodist Cardiovascular Surgery Associates