Venous Disease: What it is
In a healthy body, arteries carry blood from the heart out to the body’s extremities, delivering oxygen deep into the tissue, while veins return the deoxygenated blood back to the heart and through the lungs to be recirculated with oxygen-rich blood.
Tiny one-way valves open to allow the blood to flow toward the heart and close to prevent blood from flowing backward. When these valves malfunction, blood pools in the veins.
Over time, pressure from the pooled blood can build up, causing valves to fail, resulting in weakened, bulging vein walls. This buildup or venous reflux creates varicose and spider veins or venous disease.
Varicose Veins vs. Spider Veins
Varicose veins are enlarged and twisted rope-like veins that can be seen near the skin’s surface. They are usually found in the legs and ankles because of increased pressure from standing and walking, although they can develop anywhere in the body.
Unlike varicose veins, spider veins are small, even closer to the skin’s surface and usually red or blue in color. They can be seen in other areas of the body, such as the face, as well as in the legs.
Causes of Vein Disease
For some people, vein disease is hereditary. For others, it’s simply a part of normal aging. It usually occurs between the ages of 30 and 70 and, more often, in women than men due to hormonal changes (pregnancy, pre-menstruation, menopause, birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy) that relax the vein walls. But any situation that puts more pressure on leg veins, including standing for long periods of time or being overweight, can put someone at risk for vein disease.
What vein disease looks and feels like.
In most cases, the symptoms of vein disease are physical and cosmetic. As vein disease progresses, many people may experience one or more of the following leg symptoms:
• Muscle cramping
• Heaviness/tiredness/aching that gets worse with long periods of sitting or standing
• Burning or tingling sensations
• Tender areas around the veins
• Change in skin color
• Dry, thinning skin
When treatment becomes a medical necessity.
In its early stages, treatment is generally done for cosmetic purposes. However, the more vein disease progresses, the greater the medical need for treatment (see above for symptoms).
Delaying treatment for too long may cause more serious complications such as phlebitis (inflammation), blood clots (deep vein thrombosis), ankle sores or skin ulcers and bleeding.
The VenaCure EVLT Procedure: Less invasive, shorter recovery time.
Until recently, the only option for treating vein disease was in-hospital surgical ligation and stripping of the veins, which must to be performed under general anesthesia.
Today, alternative treatments, like the VenaCure EVLT are far less invasive procedures that can generally be done in less than an hour. It works by targeting laser energy to seal the faulty vein shut. There is no hospital stay, minimal-to-no scarring, no lengthy recovery and minimal-to-no side effects.
With more than 70,000 procedures performed and more than 60 published clinical articles documenting the VenaCure EVLT treatment efficacy over the last five years, this system is a proven alternative to invasive surgery. Talk to your doctor to determine if the VenaCure EVLT procedure is a viable treatment for you.
How the VenaCure EVLT procedure is done.
The procedure is performed right in your doctor’s office under local anesthesia. Your doctor will insert a thin laser fiber into the vein through a very small entry point, usually near the knee. The laser light that emits through this fiber will collapse the faulty vein and seal it, while diverting blood flow to nearby functional veins. The increased circulation results in a significant reduction of the symptoms of varicose veins and improves their surface appearance.
What you can expect.
While you might feel an unfamiliar sensation when the laser light emits through the fiber, it isn’t painful. Your physician will encourage you to walk immediately after the procedure. If, like some patients, you experience temporary soreness, it can be treated effectively with over-the-counter, non-aspirin pain relievers and should diminish or vanish within the first five days.
Commonly asked questions
Q. What kind of results should I expect?
A. Published clinical studies of the VenaCure EVLT laser treatment show a success rate of up to 98% with excellent long-term results. Veins that have been treated are very unlikely to become varicose again.
Q. Are there any activities that I shouldn’t do after laser treatment?
A. You can resume normal activity the same day. Ask your physician when it is safe to resume more rigorous activities, like going to the gym.
Q. Are there any risks associated with laser treatment?
A. While all surgical procedures carry some degree of risk and a potential for complications, this procedure uses a minimally invasive endovenous laser to treat varicose veins and is a clinically proven alternative to traditional and painful ligation and stripping surgery. It requires no general anesthesia and offers minimal risk and shorter recovery time.
Q. Are there any side effects?
A. Side effects may include mild bruising and tenderness that usually disappear within a few weeks, and a delayed tightness within the first week after the treatment.
Q. Will my insurance cover this treatment?
A. When varicose vein treatment is performed for medical reasons, many insurance companies will cover the procedure. This may not be true for the removal of spider veins, which is usually done for cosmetic reasons. Be sure to check with your insurance company to see if you are covered under your plan.