Varicose veins are incredibly common, affecting more than one-third of adults in the United States. For many people who develop them, varicose veins are unattractive, uncomfortable, unwanted, or all the above.
Luckily, varicose veins are also highly treatable — at Precision Surgery and Advanced Vein Therapy, board-certified general surgeon Johnny L. Serrano, DO, FACOS, uses a variety of effective methods to get rid of bothersome veins for good. Here’s what you should know.
Understanding varicose veins
Your veins work very hard to carry deoxygenated blood from your body to your heart, which passes it into your lungs for fresh oxygen before your arteries send it back out to your brain, organs, and extremities.
This nonstop process is more stressful for the veins in your legs, as they often work against gravity to move blood back to your heart. As time goes on, this perpetual stress and strain can cause weaker veins to swell, bulge, and twist — or become varicose.
Lifestyle modifications and compression therapies are usually the first line of defense against bulging veins. Exercise, weight loss, and compression stockings can keep varicose veins from getting worse, but these conservative strategies can’t improve them or make them disappear.
Varicose vein removal options
While some people opt to live with varicose veins, others choose to have these dark, bulging veins removed — typically for cosmetic reasons. Varicose veins that are uncomfortable, itchy, or painful are also good candidates for removal.
Varicose vein removal options include:
Sclerotherapy is the go-to treatment for small to mid-sized varicose veins that are fully visible along the surface of your skin. This quick, painless solution uses a hypertonic saline injection to collapse the swollen vein, causing your blood to redirect itself to healthy, open veins.
The unused vein forms into harmless scar tissue that fades away as it’s reabsorbed by your body. Most treated veins disappear completely within a few weeks.
Endovenous chemical ablation (EVCA)
EVCA is a vein removal technique that uses ultrasound imaging to treat sub-surface varicose veins, or larger, twisted veins that only partially appear near the surface of your skin.
Also known as ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy, EVCA makes it possible to find and visualize any varicose vein in its entirety, including veins that contain many inward bends or twists, and inject them with a hypertonic saline solution in exactly the right places.
On top of ensuring that each injection goes precisely where it should, using ultrasound imaging to assist in sclerotherapy vein closure allows Dr. Serrano to make sure your blood adequately reroutes itself as the treatment takes effect.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)
RFA is a thermal vein closure technique that uses controlled heat energy to target problematic varicose veins. As the treatment of choice for chronic venous reflux, RFA is usually the best way to remove varicose veins that are inflamed, cramped, and painful.
Dr. Serrano performs RFA using the VNUS Closure™ Therapy method, a minimally invasive alternative to traditional vein stripping. During the ultrasound-guided procedure, he makes a tiny incision and inserts a special, ultra-thin catheter into the vein.
The catheter emits uniform heat energy directly into the vein, causing it to shrivel and collapse in minutes. As the catheter is slowly withdrawn, the deflated vein seals itself closed, causing a prompt and complete redirection of blood flow.
This varicose vein procedure uses a series of tiny “micro-incisions” and specialized surgical tools to physically access and remove an unwanted vein. It’s often used to address mid-sized surface veins, including the grape-like varicosities that sometimes persist after RF ablation.
Sometimes called a microphlebectomy, this surgery allows Dr. Serrano to grab and remove a problematic vein in sections. Once the vein has been removed completely, the micro-incisions are closed with a few temporary bandages.
The right solution for you
While the size, severity, and location of your problematic vein help determine which solution is right for you, one thing is certain — today’s varicose vein removal treatments deliver effective, long-lasting results with little risk of side effects, no scarring, and minimal downtime.
If you’re ready to say good-bye to varicose veins, we can help. Call 602-393-1304 to reach our Glendale, Arizona, office today, or click online to schedule a consultation with Dr. Serrano any time.