Vein Treatment FAQ's
Veins are the blood vessels that return blood to the heart from the body. To overcome the force of gravity, inside veins are one-way valves which open to allow blood to flow to the heart, and close to prevent “reflux” of blood back to the body. When these valves fail to function, or if the vein is damaged so the valves do not completely close, blood can begin to pool in the vein and cause a variety of vein complications.
Most vein disease can be seen by looking at the size and color of the vein at the skin surface. In some cases, the diseased vein may be deeper in the body and not visible through the skin. Paying close attention to other symptoms such as cramping, aching, burning, itching, soreness or “tired” or “restless” legs, especially in the calf muscles can be important in diagnosing vein disease. If you experience these symptoms, a detailed ultrasound can be performed to determine if you have vein disease.
Vein disease of the legs is one of the most common medical conditions. Approximately half of the population has some form of vein disease. Varicose veins affect between 15-25% of all adults, and approximately 50% of all people over the age of 50. Women have a higher incidence than men.
If you have a family history of vein disease, there is nothing you can do to change your genes. Being overweight can accelerate the progression of vein disease, and long periods of standing can also add to the problem. For minor pain from varicose veins, a compression stocking may be beneficial. The compression will assist the leg in pumping the blood back to the heart. While the vein disease symptoms may be relieved, compression stockings will not make the varicose veins go away.
Because there are many veins in the leg, the blood that would have flowed through the closed vein simply flows through other healthy veins after your procedure. The loss of the diseased vein is not a problem for your circulatory system.
Patients should wait at least three months after pregnancy or major surgery before being treated for vein disease. Persons with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or incompetence, and patients who cannot ambulate for other reasons are not good candidates for treatment.
Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLT) is a minimally invasive state-of-the-art treatment that is used to address varicose veins. With a shorter recovery time than vein-stripping procedures and results that give patients the opportunity to have more youthful, healthy looking and feeling legs, EVLT is one of the most common and effective treatments used by the physicians at AVT
EVLT consists of an initial consultation where patients discuss their treatment plan with one of AVT’s skilled physicians. On the day of the procedure, our friendly staff greets patients and carefully prepares their leg. During the treatment, a thin fiber that emits a wave of light is inserted into the unhealthy vein. This causes it to close and be absorbed into the body’s tissue, and the blood to be rerouted to healthier veins over time. A local anesthetic is all that is required for comfort and a compression sock must be worn for two weeks post procedure.
Varicose veins can often appear unsightly to sufferers and may make you feel insecure and self-conscious when wearing sandals, shorts, swimsuits, or other types of attire. These veins typically form in the legs and feet, and the underlying health issues behind this condition can also leave you in extreme pain and discomfort while putting you at risk for circulatory problems. Rather than simply living with this uncomfortable condition and attempting to either hide or cover up your varicose veins, you have other options. To be sure, Advanced Vein Therapy has state-of-the-art treatment options available. Our skilled physicians are all board certified Interventional Radiologists with the training and expertise to quickly and effectively diagnose and treat vein disease in a safe, minimally invasive way.
Am I a Candidate for Endovenous Laser Ablation?
Your veins pump blood from the heart throughout other areas of your body. The process completes itself as this blood is pumped back to the heart again. In order for the circulation of blood flow to reach extremities, such as your legs and feet, the muscles must contract and valves within the veins must open, allowing the blood to pass. In the case of people with varicose veins, these valves fail to work properly, causing the blood to pool in spots.
This can result in venous diseases such as varicose veins or spider veins, a milder and common variation. Varicose veins are typically large and dark purple or blue in color, often appearing right below the skin’s surface, while spider veins tend to be smaller and may appear as red, blue, or purple. You may notice either of these issues seem to appear suddenly, and unfortunately tend to increase over time. While they may be painless at first, varicose veins can eventually cause the following symptoms:
- Aching, pain, and heaviness in the legs and feet;
- Burning, throbbing, cramping, or swelling in the affected areas;
- Pain that worsens after sitting or standing for long periods;
- Hardening of the veins and skin ulcers, which indicate a more serious form of vascular disease, one that requires immediate medical attention.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, our staff and board certified Interventional Radiologists at Advanced Vein Therapy may be able to help. You may be a candidate for endovenous laser ablation treatment, a common, safe, and highly effective minimally-invasive procedure.
How Does Endovenous Laser Ablation Treatment Work?
Endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) is a minimally invasive procedure that can provide patients with relatively fast and highly effective relief from the painful symptoms and unsightly appearance of varicose veins.
At Advanced Vein Therapy, we can schedule you an initial consultation with our physicians to review your medical history and the symptoms you are currently experiencing. We can then discuss your diagnosis, the potential health ramifications, and all of the treatment options that may be available in your particular situation. Once you and your doctor decide on EVLT as the best course of action, we will create a customized treatment plan and set a date to schedule the procedure.
On the day of your treatment, our staff will warmly greet you and escort you to the procedure room, while helping you relax and answering any last-minute questions or concerns you have. At this point, they will also begin preparing your leg for the treatment. The following information explains exactly how EVLT works and what to expect on the day of the procedure:
- An ultrasound will be performed, with the radiologist marking the veins that will be treated;
- Your leg will be thoroughly cleaned to prevent the risk of infection at the treatment site and covered with surgical draping;
- Depending on where the unhealthy vein is located, you may be resting comfortably on your front or back side;
- Prior to treatment, you will be given a local anesthetic to alleviate any possible discomfort you may experience;
- During the procedure, the doctor will insert a thin fiber into the unhealthy vein;
- Once the laser is turned on, you will not feel pain but you may hear a buzzing sound and experience a slight burning smell or taste in your mouth;
- As the laser fiber emits a wave of light over the vein, it eventually closes and is absorbed into the body’s tissue.
The entire procedure generally takes between 60 to 90 minutes per leg. Once the varicose vein is closed, the blood will eventually reroute to another, healthier vein.
What Are the Side Effects of Venous Ablation? What Are the Other Risks?
EVLT is proven safe and minimally invasive but it is important to realize that there are risks associated with any type of medical treatment. While the majority of patients experience no ill side effects or complications, you do need to be aware of issues that could be a cause of concern.
Infection is one of the primary risks when undergoing any type of medical care. You can do your part to reduce the risks by keeping the site clean, washing your hands frequently, and changing any bandages or dressings regularly. At Advanced Vein Therapy, we are aggressive in following practices designed to prevent infections among patients. This includes maintaining clean, safe, sterile surfaces and supplies, along with monitoring wounds to ensure they heal properly.
In addition to infection, there are other side effects which could occur as the result of EVLT. While these generally occur infrequently, we encourage patients who have recently had endovenous laser ablation treatment to always report any of the following to their doctor at once:
- Veins that are painful, itchy, or otherwise uncomfortable;
- Excessive swelling or redness;
- Burns due to extended contact with the laser;
- Changes in skin color or tone over the vein on which the procedure was performed;
- Bleeding or excessive bruising at the treatment site;
- Nerve damage, which can result in tingling or numbness;
- Blood clots, which could indicate a potentially serious underlying condition.
Deep vein thrombosis is one of the most potentially serious endovenous laser treatment side effects of endovenous laser ablation treatment, though it is relatively rare. Signs include pain, swelling, and tenderness in the calf or leg, along with swelling and a bluish discoloration.
To reduce the risk of this or other adverse effects, it is important to follow all of the instructions our staff provides both before, during, and after your treatment. This includes filling out medical forms completely, talking to your doctor about any other conditions you suffer from or medications you are taking, and attending all pre-treatment and follow up visits. Notify your doctor at the first sign of any discomfort, changes in the wound or vein appearance, or of any other problems you experience.
Tips on Getting Ready for Endovenous Laser Ablation Treatment
As a patient, it is important to take an active and engaged role in your own health care. At Advanced Vein Therapy, we provide a comprehensive, caring medical help you need in dealing with the physically painful and often embarrassing symptoms associated with venous diseases. We recommend the following tips as a way for patients to help protect themselves:
- If you have questions or concerns at any time during your initial consultation, treatment, or follow up visit, bring them up immediately.
- Carefully read all medical consent forms, discharge paperwork, and other information you are provided with.
- As stated above, be candid and thorough when speaking with your doctor about your symptoms, your medical health, and family history, or when disclosing other providers, treatments, or medications.
- Make sure your doctor is aware if you have a personal or family history of bleeding disorders or if you have allergies to things such as latex, chemical or natural dyes, antibiotics, or anesthetic medications.
- Do not eat or drink for at least eight hours before any medical testing or procedure.
- Consider bringing someone with you to your initial appointment, who can act as an extra set of ears.
- Make sure to have someone accompany you on the day of treatment and wait to take you home, as it would be unsafe to attempt to drive yourself.
What Can I Expect After My Treatment?
After completing endovenous laser treatment, the results patients experience can vary. In some cases, varicose veins disappear completely during the recovery period. In other situations and in more severe cases, it may take up to a year for the unhealthy vein to no longer be visible. Most people are likely to fall somewhere in the middle of these timeframes. The following highlights what to expect post-treatment:
- In the immediate aftermath of endovenous laser ablation surgery, you will be wrapped in an ace bandage and your compression sock. This helps to reduce swelling and potential blood clots.
- You may have some bruising and discomfort, which should diminish over a period of two weeks.
- While rest is an important part of the healing process, you will be encouraged to get up and move around frequently during your recovery.
- Be aware that, depending on the number of veins that require treatment, your doctor may need to schedule your procedure over several appointments. During this time, avoid any strenuous activities and again, closely follow all of the instructions you are provided with.
It is important for patients with varicose veins and other venous diseases to realize that there is no permanent solution to this type of problem and that the issue may reappear again at some point in time. However, in terms of long-range results, endovenous laser ablation treatment is credited with having an excellent recovery rate.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that EVLT is among the most successful of treatments. In addition to the obvious advantages of using state-of-the-art lasers rather than more invasive surgical techniques, studies show that over a five-year period following treatment, EVLT is also proven to be highly effective in preventing a recurrence of varicose veins.
What Precautions Should I Take During the Recovery Period?
The first weeks immediately after your procedure are the most important when it comes to healing. You can expect to experience some discomfort and may take over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medicines, provided you have cleared them with your doctor. Additional ways you can help to protect yourself and promote healing during this time include:
- Reduce the risk of swelling or blood clots and promote circulation by wearing your compression sock for up to two weeks, or as otherwise instructed throughout this period.
- To aid in reducing pain and inflammation, elevate and apply ice packs to the site every few hours.
- Avoid taking baths or immersing your legs or feet in water during this recovery period.
- Getting some exercise and activity is encouraged, but keep it light and stop immediately if you experience any discomfort.
Within a two-week period, any pain and swelling you experienced should have improved. As your varicose veins become less apparent, the laser insertion site itself should be healing and you may be able to resume your former activities. It is important to continue to follow closely any special instructions your doctor provides and report any new symptoms, problems, or concerns to our staff at Advanced Vein Therapy right away.
Find Out Whether Endovenous Laser Ablation Treatment Could Help You
At Advanced Vein Therapy, protecting your current and future good health is our number one priority. If you suffer from varicose veins, make the decision to finally deal with this uncomfortable and often embarrassing condition and reach out to our staff and physicians today. Our board-certified Interventional Radiologists can guide you in treatment options available.
In addition to improving your physical appearance, getting medical care for varicose veins can vastly improve your physical health and potentially prevent more serious health complications. Contact our Boise, Idaho office and request an initial consultation at Advanced Vein Therapy to find out if you may be a candidate for endovenous laser ablation treatment today.
The appearance of varicose veins over the course of time may cause feelings of distress or concerns about physical aesthetics to arise. While they cause legs to look unhealthy with their dark and protruding appearance, the additional symptoms of discomfort and heaviness can result in the deterioration of the quality of life as well. The good news is that at Advanced Vein Therapy we offer highly effective, minimally invasive treatments that help patients regain their confidence and set their mind at ease.
Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT), Sclerotherapy, Phlebectomy, Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) and Venaseal are all treatments that the skilled physicians at AVT use to treat patients struggling with venous disease. Each of these leading-edge treatments has a high rate of success. A consultation with one of our professionals will establish the approach that best fits your unique situation and gives you the information you need to feel comfortable moving forward with the best treatment.
Individuals with Venous Disease may experience what is referred to as tired leg symptoms. This condition often starts with slightly uncomfortable aching, heaviness and throbbing sensations that arise after an active day and are alleviated with a period of rest. As the condition progresses basic daily tasks become more difficult. Examples of this may include walking up and down stairs, standing while doing the dishes, being on your feet all day at work, or sitting for extended periods of time. In order to find relief, the underlying cause must be addressed.
Tired leg symptoms happen when the valves in the veins stop working correctly. Healthy leg veins move blood from your feet back up to your heart. When the valves in the veins aren’t working properly, blood begins to pool increasing pressure on the veins, and varicose veins begin to form.
The following may lead to tired leg symptoms: smoking, long periods of standing or sitting, tight clothing, high heels, and pregnancy.
A common concern raised by the active and athletic is the myth that running causes varicose veins. Running is beneficial for your vascular system as it increases circulation and helps regulate weight gain. That said, if you have varicose veins, running may aggravate your condition and cause swelling, itching, and sensations of heaviness and fatigue in your legs.
If you are a runner who has developed varicose or spider veins, consult a physician to find out how continued high-impact activity might affect your condition. If you experience pain, throbbing, or swelling in your veins while running, stop or reduce your speed and impact and elevate your legs when you are done.
If you recently discovered that you have varicose veins, you may be wondering why? Veins carry blood from your legs back to your heart. Varicose veins develop when the valves in the veins that return blood from your feet and legs to your heart stop working properly. In order for the blood to return to your heart, the veins in your legs have to work against gravity. The contractions in your leg muscles act as pumps and valves in your veins open to let the blood flow towards your heart and close to stop the back flow. When those valves stop working, the blood pools and venous disease occurs.
Multiple risk factors can increase your chance of developing varicose veins. Some include age, pregnancy, standing or sitting for long periods of time, obesity, hormonal changes in women and a family history of venous disease.
Spider veins appear as small red, purple, and blue lines that can be seen just beneath the skin’s surface. There are several factors that play a role in whether or not they develop on your legs, they include:
- A lifestyle that includes standing or sitting for long periods of time
- Hormones associated with pregnancy and menopause
- Postmenopausal hormonal replacement
Sclerotherapy is an effective, FDA-approved treatment that diminishes and even eliminates spider veins and varicose veins. At Advanced Vein Therapy, our highly trained physicians use this minimally invasive approach to address venous disease and help patients regain their health and self-esteem.
Sclerotherapy involves injecting a sterile, foamy solution into the affected veins with a fine needle. The solution causes the vein to become irritated, shrink, and close rerouting blood to healthier veins. Results are visible immediately after the first treatment; however, it may require several treatments for optimal results.
While patients may experience some minor irritation while the foamy solution is being injected, in general, they report feeling minimal pain and are able to return to their normal daily task immediately.
Varicose veins and spider veins can have an impact on every area of your life. The unsightly look and the changes in skin condition that may result can make you feel self-conscious about your physical appearance, while symptoms such as swelling, discomfort, and pain put your general health at risk. At Advanced Vein Therapy, we offer safe, effective solutions to this problem.
Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive, same-day procedure that can be performed right here in our office. As a treatment option, it is proven safe and effective in not only reducing the appearance of varicose and spider veins but also the painful symptoms that accompany this condition. If you are considering this form of treatment, you may have concerns about the potential risks versus the benefits — the following outlines some of the advantages and possible side effects of sclerotherapy, along with steps you can take to increase your chances of success with this procedure.
How Sclerotherapy Is Less Risky Than Other Forms of Treatment
Sclerotherapy is a safe, non-surgical option for the treatment of varicose veins and spider veins. By improving your appearance and treating underlying vein disease it can offer both cosmetic and medical benefits. Performed in our office by our experienced staff, it is a relatively simple procedure that involves minimal downtime and discomfort, leaving you able to walk out of our offices the same day.
This advanced treatment involves injecting a solution directly into the affected veins. This acts to damage the walls of the vein, which causes scar tissue to form. As a result, blood is rerouted toward healthier veins. In time, your body eventually absorbs the damaged veins. This gives areas of skin susceptible to varicose and spider veins, like the thighs, calves, and feet, a clearer and more unblemished appearance.
Sclerotherapy has been shown to be effective in treating the appearance and physical symptoms associated with varicose and spider veins, and has far less risk of side effects such as nerve damage, bruising, and infection, while allowing for a quick recovery, letting you resume your usual daily hobbies and activities sooner.
Preparing for Treatment
The first step in eliminating varicose veins and spider veins through sclerotherapy is to schedule a consultation. We can discuss treatment options and whether sclerotherapy may be right for you. In addition to allowing us to evaluate your venous concerns, it also helps to ensure any underlying venous disease is diagnosed and treated.
In the process of conducting your exam, our doctors and staff will carefully compile and review your medical history. This includes:
- Discussing any family history of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or stroke;
- Reviewing your health history and any existing conditions or recent illnesses, you may have had;
- Reviewing any unrelated medical treatments you may have recently undergone and any medications you may be currently taking;
- Uncovering any allergies you may have;
- Discussing any other treatments, you may have had for varicose, and spider veins and the outcome or side effects you may have experienced.
Being candid and thorough in providing this information can help to reduce the risk of sclerotherapy side effects. After discussing all of the details regarding sclerotherapy and answering any questions you have, our team will schedule a time that is convenient for you to have the procedure performed.
Temporary Side Effects After Sclerotherapy
On the day treatment is scheduled, you will want to wear loose, comfortable clothing. Sclerotherapy requires no anesthesia, which significantly reduces your risk of complications.
The time it takes to perform sclerotherapy depends on the number of veins being treated. In many cases, it can be accomplished in as little as an hour. During the procedure, we will inject the solution into the damaged vein using a fine needle. You may experience some stinging or discomfort at the injection site.
Once the solution is injected into the damaged vein, and the needle is withdrawn, your legs will be wrapped with an ace bandage and your compression socks which you will be required to wear for up to two weeks afterward.
You can immediately begin walking around after sclerotherapy. Advanced Vein Therapy advises that walking and low impact exercise is recommended. However, it is also important to not overdo it. We will discuss your activities with you and will advise you on any restrictions. In the days after the procedure, it is not uncommon for patients to experience some temporary side effects. These include:
- Bruising in the area treated;
- Tender lumps and bumps at the injection site;
- Skin discoloration around your recently treated varicose and spider veins.
In general, these symptoms will disappear in the weeks following your procedure. If they do not go away or you experience severe pain, fever, or other ailments, reach out to the Advanced Vein Therapy team right away.
When to Alert Your Doctor
There are occasions where more serious side effects of sclerotherapy may occur, but these situations are rare. Our radiologists, all of whom are highly trained and have years of experience, will review your medical history and discuss each one with you, to help avoid these risks. However, it is important to be aware of them:
- Swelling: Inflammation is a relatively minor side effect, which wearing your compression socks and taking anti-inflammatory medication as instructed should help to eliminate.
- Allergic reactions: There are some cases where patients may be allergic to the solution used during sclerotherapy, but it is relatively rare. To reduce your risks, advise your doctor of any adverse reactions you may have had in the past and notify them if you suffer a rash, itching, or other signs of allergy at the infection site.
- Tender lumps and bumps in treated superficial veins are normal as your body heals. Signs of this include areas that are painful, hard, swollen, or warm to the touch. We recommend using warm, moist compresses and over the counter anti-inflammatories to help with discomfort.
Ways to Reduce Sclerotherapy Risks
You can reduce your sclerotherapy risks before undergoing the procedure by disclosing any current health issues, medical conditions or physical symptoms you have, and following all of your doctor’s pre-treatment instructions closely. Be sure to discuss any over-the-counter or prescription medications and supplements you may be taking with your doctor before your procedure and follow all of their recommendations.
In addition to its safety and effectiveness, one of the main advantages of sclerotherapy as a treatment for varicose veins and spider veins is that the procedure itself is quick. There is generally little to no downtime, and you can resume working and other normal daily activities right away. However, taking a few simple precautions can help to promote healing and reduces the risk of any side effects. Our board-certified radiologists recommend the following suggestions:
- Use compression socks or stockings exactly as instructed, as they promote healing and help reduce the amount of swelling. We recommend the use of compression socks for two weeks following sclerotherapy.
- Speak up about any pain, stiffness, or discomfort you may be experiencing. In many cases, this is normal and can be alleviated by using over-the-counter medications.
- While staying active can help to prevent blood clotting, you want to avoid overdoing it. Follow your doctor’s advice regarding exercise and other activities. In general, avoid strenuous workouts, such as running, aerobics, or weight lifting. If you intend to fly immediately after your procedure, get approval from your doctor first.
- Avoid hot baths, steam rooms, saunas, or lying in the sun for two weeks following sclerotherapy. High temperatures increase the risk of skin sensitivity and put pressure on your veins, causing them to swell and dilate.
The Benefits of Sclerotherapy
Now that you are aware of all the possible side effects of sclerotherapy let’s take a moment to review all the benefits. As a non-invasive treatment for varicose veins and spider veins, it eliminates the need for sedation while reducing your risks for infections and other common surgical risks.
Of course, the main benefit is the impact sclerotherapy can have on your health and your physical appearance:
- Unsightly varicose veins and spider veins can be eliminated, leaving you free to live your life without feeling self-conscious.
- Venous circulation is improved, and you no longer need to suffer from cramping, tingling, numbness, heaviness or general pain and discomfort during the day.
Is Sclerotherapy Right for You?
Sclerotherapy can be a life-changing procedure for people who suffer from varicose veins and spider veins. To discuss whether you may be a candidate for this treatment and how it can benefit you, reach out and contact our Boise office and request an appointment with a member of our team today.
Phlebectomy is a treatment that the physicians at Advanced Vein Therapy use to treat varicose veins. This minimally invasive procedure is done in the physician’s office and is performed as an outpatient option. During a phlebectomy, bulging veins located just under the skin are targeted, the affected area is numbed and tiny micro-incisions are made to allow for the removal of affected veins. Stitches are not required.
After the procedure is complete, the patient’s leg is placed in a snug but comfortable compression wrap to be worn for a specified period of time post-procedure.
Phlebectomy is a safe, effective procedure commonly used to remove varicose veins. Side effects rarely occur, but when they do they may include:
- Redness and irritation at the incision site
- Change in the pigmentation of the skin at the injection site
- Temporary bruising and swelling
In general, most side effects subside after a short period of time. If they persist or worsen over time, the patient’s physician should be contacted for further consultation.