How to Choose the Best Varicose Vein Treatment for Your Needs
There are several methods used in the treatment of varicose veins. We take a look at how to choose the best varicose vein treatment for your needs.
Varicose veins are one of those problems people think are exclusive to grandmothers, but it’s not true. They happen to the best of us, and they can start at an earlier age than you expect.
The saving grace is that there are plenty of ways to treat varicose veins and to reduce your risk of future problems. In fact, many people have the opportunity to choose from several potential treatment options.
That brings another problem, though: how do you choose? The first step to understanding your varicose vein treatment options is recognizing what exactly they’re trying to fix.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
In a nutshell, varicose veins happen when the one-way valves in your veins malfunction. These valves are supposed to keep your blood flowing in one direction. For the veins in your legs, that direction is up toward your heart.
When the valves don’t do their job well, some of your blood backflows, pooling in areas of your veins. That causes those veins to bulge out, created the tell-tale appearance of varicose veins.
Varicose Vein Treatment Options
Now that you understand the basics of varicose veins, the next step is learning about your treatment options. There are three primary methods.
Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT)
The problem with varicose veins is that there isn’t a known way to get your valves back in shape. With varicose vein treatments, the goal is to collapse the affected vein.
That idea makes some patients nervous. Rest assured that your body has plenty of veins and you won’t miss the deactivated vein after treatment.
In endovenous laser therapy or EVLT, we place a tiny fiber into the vein you want to treat. Through that fiber, we project targeted laser energy. When that laser hits the internal walls of your vein, it collapses the vein.
Over time, your body removes the deactivated vein because it isn’t using it anymore. Voila, you have a vein-free area.
From a broad standpoint, sclerotherapy has the same goal as laser treatments: to collapse the varicose vein. Instead of a laser, sclerotherapy uses a medical compound called a sclerosing agent.
Our experienced providers inject the sclerosing agent into the affected vein. From inside the vein, the sclerosing agent collapses your vein to give you a great result.
Of course, most people with varicose veins have one or more clusters of veins. We can repeat the sclerotherapy process on each affected vein so you get thorough results.
Compression therapy is a bit different. It doesn’t remove existing varicose veins. However, it can keep them from getting worse.
To take advantage of compression therapy, you’ll wear compression socks on the affected areas. Because a key factor in varicose veins is uneven pressure, compression socks maintain more consistent pressure over your leg veins.
That controlled pressure has more benefits as well. On top of keeping varicose veins at bay, it also reduces the symptoms of existing varicose veins. With healthier blood flow, you can expect the aches, soreness, and tired legs to improve.
Today’s compression socks come in a variety of pressure levels. While you can buy them in many places, we recommend consulting with a professional first. A varicose vein specialist will be able to examine your veins and recommend the best types of compression socks for you.
How Do I Choose the Best Varicose Vein Treatment Option?
Understanding your treatment options is only half the battle. How do you figure out which one is the best fit for you?
First, we should clarify that there’s one treatment we didn’t mention above: varicose vein surgery. A surgeon can remove varicose veins manually.
This used to be a common procedure, but now that we have plenty of non-surgical options, it’s far less common. Today vein removal surgery is reserved for rare, extreme cases. The vast majority of people are candidates for the non-surgical choices above.
EVLT vs. Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins
When it comes to deciding between EVLT and sclerotherapy, there are a few factors to consider.
First, examine your varicose veins. Sclerotherapy is best for smaller, more superficial veins. EVLT, on the other hand, can treat larger veins as well as smaller ones.
If you have a wide range of vein sizes, EVLT tends to be best. Rather than using EVLT for the large veins and sclerotherapy for the small ones, we can stick with EVLT for the full session for more efficient results.
There are also a few other limitations to sclerotherapy. We don’t recommend it for pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding, or people who are bed-ridden.
With all that in mind, EVLT and sclerotherapy are similar in every other aspect. They’re both convenient, taking less than an hour in most cases. Neither of them requires few or no limitations on your post-procedure activities.
The minor side effects are similar between the two treatments as well. They can both cause temporary bruising, swelling, and discoloration. A scab at the injection or insertion point may appear as well.
When to Use Compression Therapy
Compression therapy is more of a preventative measure than a treatment. It’s ideal for people who have the early stages of varicose veins but don’t need treatments yet.
For most patients, the answer is a combination of compression therapy and either EVLT or sclerotherapy. Their treatment choice gets rid of existing varicose veins. Afterward, the compression socks help them avoid developing future varicose veins so they can enhance and prolong their results.
Getting Back to Vein-Free Legs
With varicose veins, the odds are against us: the majority of us will deal with them at some point. The good news is that because it’s such a common problem, medical researchers have developed plenty of ways to treat it.
While varicose veins used to be a problem people had to live with or get surgery for, today they’re easy to remove. The treatments above can help you get back the appearance and comfort of varicose vein-free legs.
While the details we’ve provided can help, the key to finding the perfect varicose vein treatment is to talk to an experienced professional.
If you’re ready to find out how we can treat your varicose veins, contact our treatment center today!