People seek varicose vein treatment because of an underlying disease called venous insufficiency, venous disease or venous reflux disease. The disease starts when flaps (valves) within the veins become faulty. Veins are stretchy, hollow tubes with valves inside and several of them exist in our bodies. When muscles contract, these valves open to allow blood to flow through the vein and when muscles relax the valves close, allowing the blood to move to only one direction via the vein. If there is a problem with the valves, they will fail to close completely when the muscle relaxes.
Due to this, some blood will move towards the heart and the rest will flow backward and begin pooling in a vein. In response, the vein with faulty valves will enlarge and swell. It will be called a varicose vein. Some people develop spider veins prior to having varicose veins. These can be successfully cured via traditional sclerotherapy. Larger varices (varicose veins, also varicosities) don’t respond well to this form of treatment. However, there is a new form of cure called foam sclerotherapy that is being used to treat larger varicose veins.
Risks of not acting now
If a venous disease is left alone, it will continue to thrive to a point of becoming chronic. It is so hard to treat chronic venous insufficiency, CVI, because it marks the advanced stage of a venous disease. At this point, your legs will be in a lot of pain and discomfort due to open venous ulcers, edema, bleeding, and more. If you experience venous reflux disease symptoms, then it will be easier to start varicose vein treatment as soon as possible. While most people notice some symptoms, some have it without their knowledge.
Symptoms of a venous disease
If you want to know whether you have venous insufficiency, look out for these symptoms:
- Varicose veins and/or spider veins – People with venous reflux will have spider veins, varicose veins or both. While spider veins don’t always indicate presence of faulty valves in veins, they should be investigated. If they become too seriously painful and cause other sort of discomfort, they should be treated through sclerotherapy. Most of the times they disappear without treatment. Varicose veins, on the other hand, require proper diagnosis and treatment. They are a really great sign that you have a venous reflux problem. As varicose vein treatment options are several, go and see your vein doctor today. Varicose veins are puffed up, twisty veins that are extremely detectable and embarrassing to have. Spider veins are tiny like blood capillaries that for a spider web or a tree branch pattern; they are blue, red or purple.
- Pain and discomfort – Venous insufficiency causes pain in legs and it is often accompanied by a lot of discomfort: burning, swelling, itching, heaviness, skin discoloration and tiredness. All these symptoms tend to worsen in the course of the day, particularly, if a woman has to remain standing or seated for hours. In the evening, most victims have swollen ankles, pain and burning. When they raise their legs, these symptoms subside. Those who wear compression stockings to work manage to control their venous reflux by improving blood circulation, yes, but this cannot replace proper varicose vein treatment.
- Blood clots – There are times when varices become so bad that blood clots in them produce a lot of pain and change in skin appearance (skin discoloration and formation of scales). When there is clotting with the varices, you have a condition called phlebitis. While temporary (lasts 2 to 3 months), phlebitis is too uncomfortable. Further, phlebitis causes superficial blood clots that are not life-threatening. On the other hand, if clots form in a deep vein, this is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This kind of clot can be fatal, if it travels to the heart or lung. This is yet another reason why seeking varicose vein treatment early is so important.
- Bleeding – People with abnormal leg veins tend to have thin skin that is easily bruised. So, a minor injury can make a varicose vein burst and ooze blood. As a consequence, blood loss is another sign that you have a chronic venous insufficiency condition that must be treated as soon as possible.
- Venous ulcers – If you develop open wounds, it shows that your venous reflux disease is chronic. One thing is for sure, venous ulcers are difficult to heal. They may ooze and hurt sometimes and may remain painless and unresponsive to treatment for a long time. Early sclerotherapy treatment can prevent venous ulcers from forming later on.
What type of doctor can help you?
If you have a venous disease, the best medical professional to call is a vascular doctor. He or she also qualifies to be referred to as a vascular surgeon. Once you locate the best vascular specialist, such as Dr. Michael Nguyen, you will begin the varicose vein treatment procedure. When it comes to picking the right vascular doctor, keep in mind the following clues:
- A vascular specialist is trained and allowed to offer general surgery and vascular surgery. Thus, they can diagnose and treat vascular diseases that affect the veins, lymphatic systems and arteries.
- A vascular surgeon is capable of doing open surgeries, endovascular catheter-guided treatments, non-invasive vascular tests and analysis, and reconstructive vascular surgery. They are not qualified to do heart surgery, however.
- There are a few diseases that a vascular doctor could treat, including venous reflux disease, aortic aneurysms and atherosclerosis. So it is important to have your blood vessels screened the moment you suspect that something is amiss. These surgeons can also diagnose and cure a diabetic foot infection, vascular trauma, poor blood circulation in legs, claudication, and PAD (peripheral arterial disease). These specialists can even prevent stroke.
- Education background and board certification. Vascular specialists are some of the most educated surgeons. After completing a 4-year undergraduate degree course and graduating from a medical school, they join a residency program. This takes them through five to six years of vascular surgery training or general surgery training. Those who take a residency program in general surgery for 5 years will then proceed to a fellowship program in vascular surgery. This takes two years. A vascular doctor spends a lot of time in school, followed by doing board certification exam in their area of specialization. This examination is overseen by the American Board of Surgery (ABS). Vascular surgeons can as well take further board examinations to prove their knowledge of pediatric surgery or general surgery, for instance. These doctors work in smaller community hospitals, teaching hospitals, large private varicose vein treatment centers and so on.
Selecting a good vascular doctor
Needless to say, the internet is so full of vein doctors who claim to be the best varicose vein treatment options. Hence, we would advise you to select a vein specialist carefully. Take the time to know where they studied and for how long, whether they are ABS-certified and for how long they have been practicing medicine. In every area of life, experience is the best teacher. Hence, pick a vascular doctor who has treated several people in a superb way.
If it will be possible, have your doctor connect you with some of his or her past patients. There will be testimonials on most websites, of course, but you can decide to investigate a varicose vein treatment clinic further by calling some of the people it has treated recently. You won’t go wrong with any clinic that involves Dr. Michael Nguyen, M.D.
He is an alumnus of the Harvard Medical School where he completed his residency and fellowship training. He has also been to the University of Miami and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Nguyen is a recognized vascular doctor who offers venous medicine, minimally invasive cosmetic surgeries and pain management services. A famous published author, Dr. Michael is a medical professional with multiple awards. He even appears on TV and most people have seen him. If you are struggling with varicose veins, spider veins and their complications, get in touch with this vascular doctor today.
Types of varicose vein treatment procedures
Once you decide that you want to seek medical help, the first thing your vascular surgeon will carry out is the diagnosis. Besides a number of questions, the surgeon will do a physical exam by touching your veins while you remain standing. If he or she wants to verify their outcome further, they will order an ultrasound test. This will be an outpatient service provided at the doctor’s office. If he or she confirms that you have spider veins or varices, they will begin varicose vein treatment.
But, what will the treatment entail? Prior to trying anything else, your vascular surgeon might ask you to start wearing a medical-grade compression panty hose. Stockings boast different compression strengths and your vascular doctor will select the right ones for you. Stockings compress the veins and stop blood from flowing back to the legs and pooling there. Medical insurers will agree to meet your varicose vein treatment cost if wearing compression stockings for three months does not provide adequate pain relief. In such a case, your vascular specialist will provide these alternatives:
- Sclerotherapy – This is picked without hesitation when a patient is diagnosed with spider veins, also thread veins. The modern foam sclerotherapy can also be used to treat bigger varicose veins in a successful manner. Generally, the procedure entails an injection with a sclerosing agent. Now doctors do an ultrasound-guided procedure where a tiny needle is inserted through the skin and into the problematic vein. Then, a slerosant or sclerosing agent is deposited into the vein where it causes it to spasm, clot and go away in a few weeks time. Sclerotherapy is ideal for people who don’t fear needles and don’t have an extensive area that needs medical attention. Two to three sessions might be needed to completely remove varicosities or thread veins. Also, patients should continue to wear their compression hose until their vein specialist asks them to stop.
- Other treatment options – There are times when sclerotherapy is not the right way to cure varicosities. In such a case, a vascular doctor will apply other techniques that are likely to produce excellent results. One of these is ablation therapy. This entails endovenous procedures that are minimally invasive compared to the vein stripping surgery. A good example is radio frequency ablation (RFA) therapy, a catheter-guided endovenous procedure that removes a vein via radio frequency heat. It works best if one has large varicose veins and involves making tiny cuts via the skin surface.
Local anesthetic drug shots are given based on how big an area being treated is to avoid pain. Endovenous laser ablation therapy (EVLT or EVLA) is the next alternative and the procedure uses a laser device that produces a light beam that is capable of burning and destroying a varicose vein. EVLT is effective when treating smaller varicose veins and it’s great because the vascular doctor is able to select the right wavelength for you. There are other treatment procedures too, including phlebectomy and surgical stripping/ligation. Surgery is always the last option, though, picked when all the other procedures fail to help.
If you have varicose veins or spider veins, chances are high that you have a venous reflux disease. It should be diagnosed and treated as soon as now because it will keep on worsening. Those who can already notice some varicose veins or thread veins should seek treatment as soon as now. When help is sought early, bad complications caused by chronic venous insufficiency can be prevented. The problem that your vascular doctor will solve right away is that of poor blood circulation in legs. Once your circulatory system is restored to better health, you might survive without needing further varicose vein treatment sessions. Nevertheless, doctors cannot stop new varices or spider veins from forming in future. So, if you see new abnormal leg veins, the ideal thing to do is to seek help once again. One thing you can be assured of after seeking medical help are cuter, pain-free legs plus lots of confidence.