What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins typically appear as unsightly bulges on the leg. These may both a cosmetic and a medical issue for men and women. Varicose veins form as a result of diseased veins having weakened walls and valves. The weaknesses in these veins may be congenital or may be a result of lifestyle habits. When these veins do not function properly, they are unable to return blood to the heart efficiently. This is what causes the blood to pool. When blood is unable to move in the proper direction, a backflow may begin, known as venous reflux.
Generally speaking, over 30% of adult Americans will suffer from a type of vein disorder.
Provided below is a list of venous disorders:
- Spider Veins
- Varicose Veins
- Edema (Swelling)
Varicose Veins Symptoms
Some symptoms of varicose veins include pain (comparatively described as burning, aching, and/or throbbing), heaviness, fatigue, and swelling. Most patients with varicose vein disorders also suffer from reflux (abnormal blood flow) in their saphenous veins. Normally leg veins carry blood back to the heart. Refluxing veins also allows blood to flow back towards the foot. This results in a pooling of venous blood in the leg. This leads to spider veins, varicose veins, and other manifestations of venous disorders.
Risks Factors For Varicose Veins
While risk factors for developing varicose veins may vary, gender may have an effect. These risk factors include:
- Congenital weakness in veins
- Oral Contraceptives
- Congenital weakness in veins
- A family history of the vascular disease
Most people tend to have increased risks due to their jobs or daily habits. Individuals whose occupation involves standing or sitting for extended periods, such as teachers, have a higher chance of developing varicose veins. This also holds true for those who spend a lot of time as either a driver or passenger.
“Varicose veins are common. About 20% of Americans suffer from varicose veins. varicose veins aren’t just a cosmetic problem. They can cause a lot of physical and emotional suffering.
Varicose Vein Treatment
Usually, varicose vein treatment plans begin by addressing saphenous vein reflux. Dr. Reynolds treats refluxing saphenous veins by closing them, the medical term is ablation. Treatment closes only diseased veins. Healthy veins are not damaged. Once diseased veins are closed, blood is then re-routed into healthy veins. Circulation and symptoms improve.
What are Saphenous Vein Ablations?
Saphenous vein ablations are minimally invasive office procedures. On the positive side, patients can return to their normal activities following the procedure. Post-procedure discomfort is controlled with over-the-counter analgesics like Tylenol and ibuprofen. The incision is so small that no sutures or tapes are necessary. We have several modalities for closing saphenous veins.
After saphenous vein ablation, varicose veins will sometimes return to their normal size, “normalize”. Often, however, varicose veins need to be directly treated after a period of observation or at the same time as saphenous vein ablation.
Pharmaceutical Ablation of Saphenous Veins
Pharmaceutical ablation of saphenous veins is closing them by injecting drugs called sclerosants. We use the same FDA approved sclerosants that we use for treating spider veins but in higher concentrations and after agitating the liquid into foam. Pharmaceutical endovenous ablation is often called endovenous foam sclerotherapy. After a patient is under local anesthesia, we insert a small catheter into the vein and inject the foam under ultrasound guidance.
Because foam sclerotherapy does not require the use of expensive disposable supplies, it is more affordable than endovenous thermal ablation. Health plans do not usually cover endovenous foam sclerotherapy but it is often a good treatment choice for patients whose treatments insurance will not cover.
The ClosureFast procedure is a minimally invasive treatment that uses radiofrequency ablation to seal the diseased vein so that blood gets rerouted to nearby healthy veins.
Additionally, we use local anesthesia at the entry site to numb the area. Through a micro-incision, we insert a spaghetti sized catheter into the vein around the knee and advance it so the tip is near the groin. Dr. Reynolds guides the catheter into position with help from the ultrasound. Because we have no feeling in our veins, patients have no pain from passing the catheter. After Dr. Reynolds injects a local anesthetic into the tissue around the saphenous vein, he uses radiofrequency energy to heat and closes the vein.
Dr. Reynolds can also complete a saphenous vein ablation with radiofrequency or laser energy. We have performed thousands of ClosureFast procedures and prefer radiofrequency over laser treatment due to its simplicity and safety. ClosureFast is the “gold standard” for saphenous vein ablation.
VenaSeal is a promising product for ablating saphenous veins. We insert a catheter-like in endovenous thermal ablations but inject a cyanoacrylate-based medical adhesive instead of delivering heat. No peri-venous local anesthetic is necessary. Our team treats varicose veins by removal and/or injections.
Ambulatory phlebectomy is a procedure performed to remove varicose veins. During the procedure Dr. Reynolds removes the veins under local anesthesia through multiple micro-incisions. Patients can then use over the counter analgesics like Tylenol and ibuprofen for discomfort and return to normal activities the same or next day.
Sclerotherapy is a vein treatment where pharmaceuticals called sclerosants are injected directly into the varicose veins or spider veins. For the most part, Dr. Reynolds and his team require multiple treatments.
My experience with Dr. Reynolds and The Vein Clinic was excellent. He knew exactly how to treat my varicose veins. The staff was very friendly and very helpful. – G.B.
Schedule a Consultation
Our team at The Vein Clinic will educate you about the treatments available and provide the best plan. To learn more about varicose vein treatment, call (803) 253-8667 to schedule a consultation at our office in Columbia, SC.