Alternative medicines and exercise programs that target the calf muscle pump can improve the symptoms associated with venous disease.
Elastic compression stockings or compression therapy narrow the veins, decrease venous volume and reduce venous reflux by shifting blood volume from the compressed extremity to central regions of the body. It also improves the venous pumping ability. Compression therapy is effective in relieving swelling and pain and it can be used alone or in combination with other therapies but compliance is usually poor.
For mild forms of venous disease, lifestyle changes may be recommended to control existing symptoms and prevent others from showing. The following measures may help prevent varicose veins and reduce symptoms:
- Manage blood pressure and body weight (i.e: lose weight if you are over-weight)
- Exercise regularly, focusing on exercises that work your legs (i.e: running or walking)
- Elevate your legs while at rest
- Avoid prolonged sitting or standing
- If your work requires you to sit or stand for prolonged periods of time, wear compression stockings
- Avoid clothes that are tight around the waist, thighs or legs
- Strengthen calf muscles and avoid shoes that limit the use of calf muscle (i.e: high heels)
- Eat a diet low in salt and rich in high-fiber foods
There are also alternative medical or herbal therapies that have a proven benefit in the treatment of symptoms related to varicose veins. In general, these compounds help reduce pain, cramps, heaviness, and paresthesia symptoms compared to placebo. They can also help reduce the severity of edema and decrease in calf and ankle circumference.
One of the common minimally invasive options to treat varicose or spider veins is sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy is a treatment in which a chemical solution is injected into diseased or damaged veins. This solution irritates the vein lining causing it to undergo fibrosis, closure and eventually disappear, so that these abnormal veins can no longer fill with blood. After each injection gauze and tape are applied to create compression over the injected area. At the end of the procedure, external compression is applied using support hose. The compression causes the vein walls to seal together and the vein can no longer transport blood. Your body breaks down and absorbs the damaged vein.
In few weeks, the treated vein will be “absorbed” by the body as blood flow is re-routed to other veins. When healing is complete the vein is no longer visible. The process is very similar to how your body heals a bad bruise. Multiple treatments may be needed to close the damaged vein. Your physician will perform these treatments in an office or clinic.
We understand the importance of treating “feeder” veins, also known as reticular veins. These veins often “feed” blood into the visible spider veins however sometimes they are a bit too deep to visualize with the naked eye. This is why we utilize advanced vein light technology to see these veins and to ensure you get the absolute best, most effective treatment possible.
Laser therapy is used to heat the blood vessel and shrink it. It is effective for the treatment of very small varicose veins and spider veins. Laser therapy may be used as an additional treatment after sclerotherapy, endovenous procedures or surgery of larger veins. It has emerged as a viable and effective treatment option, especially when treating patients with needle phobias.
Blood in the spider or varicose veins preferentially absorbs laser wavelengths between 800 to 1,100 nm. One such laser is the 1,064 nm Nd:YAG. Using an air cooling system over the skin, this therapy can be performed with minimal or no significant discomfort. The course of the vein is treated with laser pulses. Laser therapy may require several sessions, spaced at 4 to 6 week intervals, to properly treat the vein. Patients will usually require between 2 and 4 treatment sessions to achieve optimal results.
Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation (EVRF) therapy is a minimally invasive treatment that uses radiofrequency (RF) energy to effectively treat patients with varicose veins or chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) and who have reflux disease involving the saphenous vein.
A specialist inserts a catheter into the diseased greater saphenous vein or tributary through a tiny incision. Guided by ultrasound imaging, the area surrounding the vein is injected with a mixture of saline solution and local anesthetic called tumescent. The vein will then be treated in segments for several seconds each. The catheter delivers consistent and uniform heat to contract the collagen in the vein walls, causing it to collapse and close.
The incision is closed, gauze and compression bandages are applied. After the vein is sealed, blood is naturally redirected to the healthy veins that remain. The treated vein then becomes fibrous tissue and will gradually be resorbed by the body.
EVRF might be done along with another treatment for varicose veins, including phlebectomy or microphlebectomy of bulging varicose veins in the same limb. This procedure typically does not require a stay in the hospital.
Phlebectomy is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure that removes bulging varicose veins through multiple small 2–3 mm incisions in the skin overlying the varicose veins.
Phlebectomy is usually performed in a doctor’s office minor surgical operating room using local anesthesia and sometimes light sedation. First, the veins are identified and marked with the patient in standing position. Once in the procedure room, a local anesthetic fluid is injected into the area of varicose vein clusters to be treated. The doctor then uses a small scalpel to create tiny incisions, inserts a small hook, grasps the vein and removes it. The wounds are then closed with minimal stitches or skin adhesive glue. The area is covered with gauze and compression bandages are applied.
Phlebectomy might be done along with another treatment for varicose veins, including radiofrequency ablation of the saphenous vein in the same limb. This procedure typically does not require a stay in the hospital.