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Treatment Methods

Not every condition related to venous insufficiency requires treatment; you and your doctor should discuss your unique situation and the options that are best for you. Treatment of varicose veins ranges from conservative, lifestyle-based approaches to more advanced outpatient treatment methods.

Lifestyle Changes

Examples of conservative options for addressing varicose veins or venous insufficiency involve making lifestyle changes, such as changes to your diet, exercising more, avoiding standing or sitting for long periods, wearing looser, less form-fitting clothing and, for women, avoiding the wearing of high heel shoes. Your doctor may recommend compression stockings. These stockings work well to create gentle pressure up the leg to keep blood from pooling while decreasing swelling.

Radiofrequency Ablation

In this method, a thin catheter is gently inserted into the vein through the skin. The catheter emits radio waves, which heat specific areas of the affected vein, causing it to close. The catheter is withdrawn and the healing process begins almost immediately. The closed vein is then reabsorbed into the body and the blood supply in that area is naturally rerouted through other, healthier veins.

Laser Ablation

Similar to radiofrequency ablation, a thin catheter is gently inserted through the skin into the affected vein. This catheter, however, is equipped with a laser, which heats the vein likewise causing it to close. After the catheter is withdrawn and the healing process begins, the closed vein is reabsorbed into the body and the blood supply in that area is naturally rerouted through other, healthier veins.

Ambulatory Phlebectomy

Often, this relatively minor surgical procedure is routinely conducted at the same time as a laser or radiofrequency ablation. This method is performed by first making tiny incisions that rarely ever require stitches to heal. The bulging vein is then extracted through these tiny incisions before the leg is bandaged and the healing process begins. As with the other methods, the body will naturally reroute the blood supply using other, healthier veins.

Ultrasound-Guided Foam Sclerotherapy

In this method, the physician administering this treatment uses ultrasonongraphy sound waves to guide the procedure for maximum accuracy and safety. A foam medicine called a sclerosant is injected into the problem vein where it initiates a reaction that results in vein closure. Blood is then naturally rerouted through healthier veins while the body reabsorbs the closed vein.

Visual Sclerotherapy

This procedure is reserved strictly for spider veins, which are smaller than varicose veins and generally located closer to the skin’s surface.. Similar to ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy, a medicine called a sclerosant is injected into the veins, initiating a reaction that causes them to close and be reabsorbed into the body. Unlike ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy, however, this treatment is done without the need of imaging equipment, but is instead performed “visually” by a health professional. This treatment is not normally covered by insurance.