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The Modern Treatment of Varicose and Spider Veins

The Modern Treatment of Varicose and Spider Veins

Posted on September 7, 2021 by Dr. Stephen Rivard

People have been suffering from vein disease for centuries, even before it was considered a medical condition. When vein disease finally became recognized and diagnosed by doctors, many people saw the treatment options as worse than the disease itself. Painful treatment options and a lack of knowledge about the severity of vein disease led to millions of people forgoing essential care. Today, over 30 million Americans are suffering from venous disease and many individuals still avoid treatment either because they’re afraid or they don’t fully understand the risks of vein disease.

For years, many patients with vein disease were treated with a dated procedure known as “vein stripping.” Unfortunately, vein stripping is quite painful, requires a long recover period, and is only successful about 50% of the time. This is one of the reasons that people today do not seek treatment for vein disease—the treatment is worse than their symptoms or complications. Vein stripping is outmoded and is no longer part of the modern vein disease treatment regimen.

The contemporary treatment of vein disease is not what it used to be. In fact, it’s vastly different than what it was even as recently as 10 years ago. New technology has virtually eliminated the need for surgery in the treatment of surface veins and now, patients can benefit from pain-free, non-surgical laser treatments with minimal recovery periods and extremely high success rates. This is, in part, due to the emergence of the new medical specialty called Venous and Lymphatic Medicine, which focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic vein disease.

The American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine was established in 2007 to help improve the standards of medical practitioners and the overall quality of care for those suffering from venous disorders. While there are many physicians that offer medical services relating to vein disease, only a few are recognized as board certified venous and lymphatic physicians. This creates a higher standard of care for patients, especially when it comes to how venous diseases are treated. Today, modern treatments require the mastery of specific medical technology, and the best practitioners are certified in ultrasonography.

Treating Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are the enlarge, swollen, or bulging veins that occur most commonly on the lower extremities. Depending on their severity, they can appear dark purplish or blue and twist across different parts of the legs. While many people see varicose veins as a cosmetic concern, they are indicative of vein disease and therefore, require the proper treatment.

The modern treatment for varicose veins is far different than what it once was. Today, the procedure for varicose vein removal is referred to as Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT). EVLT works by delivering just the right wavelength of laser energy to the affected vein, therefore changing cellular structure, and closing the affected vein. As the treated vein closes, your body automatically re-routes the blood to other, healthy veins in the area. While many patients experience unfamiliar sensations, modern varicose vein treatment is nothing like vein stripping. In most people, the procedure only produces a mild degree of pain or discomfort and takes less than an hour to perform. Since Endovenous Laser Therapy only requires a local anesthetic at the treatment site, there is no downtime and you’re encouraged to carry on with normal activities after leaving the vein specialist’s office.

In addition to the benefit of EVLT being painless, this modern varicose vein treatment immediately reverses venous hypertension, and your body will begin the healing process from the moment you stand up after the procedure. This means that you’ll reduce your risk of complications from varicose veins over time and, as an added bonus, there will be a significant improvement in cosmetic appearance.

Treating Spider Veins

Spider veins are the small, red veins that appear in branch-like formations across your skin. They do not tend to bulge like varicose veins, but they’re still a sign of damaged veins. Spider veins are most commonly seen on the lower extremities, and while they aren’t as serious as varicose veins, treatment is still essential. Luckily, with the evolution of modern spider vein treatment options, you can eliminate their appearance with ease.

Most spider veins are treated via Sclerotherapy, which is a method of closing veins through the injection of a solution called a sclerosing agent. This causes inflammation and ultimately destruction of the lining of the blood vessel causing it to harden. For superficial veins, the injections are administered by a trained Registered Nurse (RN) using a VeinLite® guidance system for visualization. For injections into larger and deeper veins, Dr. Rivard will use an ultrasound to guide his injection. This procedure, in combination with compression bandages and hosiery, will aid in the distribution of the medication and vein closure. Over time, the sclerosed vein will be reabsorbed by the body tissue and fade away.

We also offer Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment to effectively treat certain spider vein cases. IPL uses light energy to heat the skin and damage unwanted cells, such as those that occur from vein disease. Once the cellular walls of the spider vein are damaged, they are reabsorbed into the body and blood is redirected through healthy veins. IPL helps rejuvenate the skin and eliminate unsightly spider veins.

Finding a Board-Certified Vein Disease Specialist

For the best in modern treatment of varicose and spider veins, it’s important to find a board-certified vein disease specialist. At Illinois Vein Specialists, we care about using a modern, comfortable approach to vein disease treatment just as much as we care about our patients. Since we opened our doors in 2009, Illinois Vein Specialists has helped over 10,000 patients overcome vein disease and its associated complications.

If you’re looking for modern treatment of varicose veins and spider veins, contact Illinois Vein Specialists today.


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