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Nonsurgical Treatments For Damaged Veins

Mar 22

Veins carry oxygenated blood from the heart to various parts of the body and return deoxygenated blood back to the heart. In some cases, these veins become damaged or malfunctioning, leading to symptoms such as pain, heaviness and swelling of the legs and ankles. If these symptoms are severe enough, a physician may recommend surgery to treat the affected veins and prevent complications.

The main cause of damaged veins in legs is chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), a circulatory condition caused when the valves that line your veins collapse or fail. When these valves stop working, they allow blood to flow backward against the force of gravity into your leg veins, which leads to vascular dilation and spider veins, varicose veins, or other painful conditions. This condition can also lead to a serious blood clot in the deep veins of your leg, called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This can be life-threatening if the clot travels to the lungs and is then called a pulmonary embolism.

Lifestyle changes can help manage vein damage, such as elevating your legs for 30 minutes several times a day to reduce pressure in the veins and wearing compression stockings. Your doctor may also prescribe anti-inflammatories and/or blood thinners to ease your symptoms and prevent or limit blood clots from forming.

If lifestyle changes aren’t enough to help your veins, there are minimally invasive in-office procedures available. One treatment option, radiofrequency occlusion, involves an Center For Advanced Vein Care specialist making a small puncture in your leg and inserting a catheter into a damaged vein. This catheter is then fitted with a laser fiber that heats the vein, causing it to shrink and close. Your body then reabsorbs the damaged vein and blood is rerouted through other healthy veins. This procedure is less invasive than other surgical treatments, and typically causes little or no bruising.

Another nonsurgical option is sclerotherapy, in which your doctor injects salt water or a chemical solution into your damaged vein, which forces the vein to close and then gradually fades away over time. Sclerotherapy is also a good choice for treating smaller varicose veins.

Lastly, there is a surgical procedure known as ambulatory phlebectomy. For this procedure, your doctor will inject local anesthesia and make a tiny cut near your damaged vein. Then, using a hook-like tool, your doctor will remove your damaged vein segment by segment. The procedure is performed under local, spinal or general anesthesia. After a few weeks of wearing compression stockings, you can return to your regular activities.

Vein pain is common in people with chronic venous insufficiency, especially those who work in jobs that require long periods of standing or sitting down. Symptoms include achy, swollen legs or ankles, a feeling of heaviness in your legs, and the appearance of varicose and spider veins. If you notice these symptoms, see a vein expert as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. Early treatment can prevent the disease from progressing, and can even reverse many of your symptoms.