Vein disease can occur in any part of the body but leg vein disease – varicose veins – is probably the most common concern for most people. However, many people also seek treatment for spider veins or prominent hand veins as well. Since vein disease doesn’t just disappear on its own, knowing the best treatment options to promote vein health is important. Here’s what you need to know, courtesy of Dr. David Bellamah, of the Bellamah Vein Center in Missoula, Montana.
Why Treat Leg Vein Disease?
Many people who have varicose veins or spider veins don’t have symptoms and seek treatment for cosmetic reasons. Others have symptoms such as burning, itching, leg pain or swelling. While symptom relief is one good reason, there are others. Leg vein disease can increase your chances of thrombophlebitis, an inflammatory process that may result in blood clots. These can travel to the lungs or brain, with serious consequences. Severe varicose veins may also develop ulcers.
Best Treatment Options
The best treatments depend on various factors – your age, overall health, the location of the diseased veins and their severity. Insurance coverage may also affect your choice. Here are some of the possibilities:
- Conservative Treatment – symptom management rather than a solution, this includes wearing compression stockings, elevating your legs, weight loss, exercise and using over-the-counter medications.
- Sclerotherapy – usually used for shallow, smaller varicose veins and spider veins. The doctor injections a special solution or foam into the vein, which swells, then collapses and scars closed.
- Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT) – lasers act in the same way as sclerotherapy but use a burst of heat to make the vein swell and collapse.
- VenaSeal – a medical adhesive injected into the vein that seals it off. Blood is diverted into healthier veins and the sealed vein is gradually absorbed by surrounding tissue.
- VeinGogh – application of a burst of energy through a fine needle. Used for spider veins.
- Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) – a fine catheter inserted into the vein delivers heat directly to the vein wall. The treated vein will collapse and seal itself off.
- Phlebectomy – a minor surgical technique in which the vein is cut and pulled out of the tissue under local anesthesia.
Making a Choice for Vein Health
Deciding among possible treatment options is a joint activity with your doctor. For some people, conservative treatment is attractive as it is less expensive and does not involve any invasive treatments. It’s important to remember that conservative treatment doesn’t affect a cure and must be continued for the rest of your life. For small varicose veins or spider veins, a procedure like sclerotherapy or RFA is a good choice. EVLT and phlebectomy are better for larger or deeper veins. All of these are in-office procedures, use local anesthesia and require little time. Downtime is also minimal.
No matter what your vein problems, we have a potential solution. Please contact us for an assessment and recommendations. Dr. Bellamah can explain the treatment options and help you make a choice. Here’s to your vein health!