Evolution of Vein Treatments

Woman Rubbing Leg


Varicose veins have been around since the beginning and we have been trying to find relief and treatment for centuries. History books show how doctors and scientists have attempted to solve the pain and frustration of this medical condition. As early as 1550 B.C. in the Ebers Papyrus written by the Egyptians, mentioned varicose veins but their understanding of these veins was lacking as they mention to not treat or touch them. Over time, ideas evolved on how to minimize pain. In the days of Hippocrates, he began recommending compression therapy for varicose veins and venous ulcers to relieve pain and alleviate pressure. This treatment of compression is still in use today and over the centuries; many methods have come and gone, leading us to the successful spider and varicose vein treatment options we have today.

Excision and vein phlebectomies of the past

For centuries doctors have tried to help varicose vein patients and excision of these troublesome veins was very experimental. Here is a timeline of early vein therapies:

  • 25 B.C. to 14 A.D: A Roman physician name Celcus had success and failures with ligation and excision of varicose veins. He pioneered the beginning of phlebectomies and cauterization, treatments which have been perfected today.
  • 131-201 A.D.: A physician named Galen made 3-6 incisions in the leg with a small hook and would tightly bandage the leg. With no anesthetic, he would dissect varicose veins with a scalpel.
  • 325-405 A.D.: A Byzantine physician named Oribasius of Pergamus wrote in depth chapters on how to make small incisions and excise the varicose veins with 1 or 2 hooks.
  • 930-1313 A.D.: An Arab named Albucasis, wrote thirty volumes of medical text in which he described the binding of the arteries with descriptions of varicose vein stripping that are almost like our modern day varicose vein procedures.
  • 1600’s: Intravenous drugs were introduced which when used in conjunction with varicose vein surgeries, became far less painful.
  • 1800’s: Injection of iron or iodine into varicose veins became popular but this was soon abandoned due to complications.
  • 1916: Crossectomies were performed where a ligation was done on the saphenous vein near the groin. These were not popular and did not stick around.

How modern day varicose vein treatments have changed

The history of varicose vein treatment seems barbaric, terrifying and painful. Modern medicine has advanced so fast in the last 20-30 years, making some treatments virtually painless. These methods today involve minimal pain and discomfort. Compared to the past, we have come a long way and the results are incredible. These treatments include:

  • Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT): A thin fiber is inserted into the vein and then a wave of light energy causes the vein to close up and seal. The vein is then dissolved into the body and the pain felt is minimal making recovery quite simple.
  • Sclerotherapy: A foamy solution is injected into thinner, spider veins causing irritation in the vein walls. The walls shrink and the spider vein disappears before your eyes. Several treatments may be necessary but the results are beautiful with very little pain involved.
  • Ambulatory Phlebectomy: Tiny incisions in the skin are made and the affected vein is removed. This procedure sounds more painful than it actually is as most patients experience little to no pain or scarring.
  • Radiofrequency Ablation: Is a procedure used to relieve pain. An electrical current enters into the nerve tissues and therefore reduces pain.

Trusted care for your varicose vein treatment

We can thank the pioneers of the past for all their work in the field of varicose vein treatments. Because of their work, your varicose and spider vein treatments can be successful and almost pain free. At AVT, we will discuss with you the best option for your situation. Make an appointment today so you can feel more confident and happy about your legs again. We look forward to hearing from you!