Half of all Americans age 50 and older, and two-thirds of women age 60 and older, suffer from varicose veins. The problem is far more than cosmetic. The pain, swelling and leg fatigue can discourage an active lifestyle, and severe varicose veins can even cause chronic infections and skin ulcerations.
Varicose veins generally occur when the valves fail in the primary leg vein, which is called the greater saphenous. Those valves are supposed to push blood back up toward the heart, but when they cannot do the job anymore, the blood pools up in the veins, giving them that blue hue sufferers know so well and causing legs to feel sore and heavy.
Until recently, the only surgical treatment was stripping out the saphenous vein, a procedure that requires a general anesthetic and weeks of recovery. Now, there is a minimally-invasive procedure that can address the problem in minutes in the doctor’s office, not in the hospital.
The new procedure utilizes catheter technology, the same kind that is used for heart interventions. Under a local anesthetic, a doctor threads a catheter, about the thickness of a spaghetti noodle, into the vein to heat it from within and seal it off, rather than removing it. The doctor pulls the device through the vein, using either radiofrequency (RF) energy or a laser to heat the vein walls and cause them to collapse inward on themselves. Once the vein is sealed, the body will automatically re-route blood flow through healthier vessels to restore normal circulation. The sealed vein is eventually absorbed by the body.
This new, minimally invasive alternative to vein stripping is an in-office procedure, and patients can return to normal activities within about a day. Since this procedure is considered a medical necessity rather than cosmetic surgery, it is covered by Medicare and most insurers.
The board-certified surgeons of Carrollton Surgical Group now offer this advanced treatment for the unsightly problem of varicose veins. The treatment is:
- Outpatient – in the office, not in the hospital
- Minimally invasive – a large or painful incision isn’t required
- Easy recovery – at home with minimal discomfort
- Affordable – covered by most insurance plans
To schedule a consultation with a Carrollton Surgical Group physician to discuss whether or not advanced treatment for varicose veins is right for you, call 770.834.3336.