Are you putting off treatment for varicose veins? Some have heard that treatment is painful and decide it’s easier to just live with your veins. While painful procedures used to be a reality for vein treatment — back when vein stripping was the standard — we’ve moved on to more advanced and better techniques! We now have minimally invasive ways to treat troublesome veins, such as through endovenous laser treatment. What’s the difference between the two, you ask? The best vascular surgeons in Orlando at Central Florida Vein & Vascular Center prioritize making sure our patients understand their vein care — and that includes understanding how modern-day treatment varies from old procedures. Take a look at how these two treatments vary.
What is Vein Stripping?
If “vein stripping” gives you a mental image of a surgeon physically removing a vein, then you have a fairly realistic idea of what this procedure entails; surgeons really did strip the vein from the body. During vein stripping, a surgeon made an incision down the leg. Then, they inserted a wire into the vein and used that wire to remove the vein from the body. As you can imagine, this was an often painful procedure that required anesthesia and a week or two to recover.
Unfortunately, pain wasn’t the only problem with vein stripping; it also wasn’t permanent. Vein stripping had a success rate below 50%, and it was likely that patients would experience a recurrence of troublesome veins. It was also far from a risk-free procedure. Patients experienced a wide variety of side effects and complications, including allergic reactions, infections at the incision site, heavy bleeding, blood clots, bruising, scarring, and even nerve injury.
If vein stripping is someone’s only frame of reference, it’s no surprise that they would put off vein treatment. Why undergo a painful procedure that wasn’t guaranteed to handle your venous concerns? Luckily, vein stripping is rarely needed nowadays thanks to another treatment — endovenous laser treatment. Since it’s important to catch vein problems early, we’re excited to have this easier, minimally invasive treatment with considerably fewer risks and is conveniently performed in the office!
What is Endovenous Laser Treatment?
The medical field is continuously making improvements to treatments, and vein care hasn’t been left behind! Endovenous laser treatment is considered the new gold standard for vein care. This minimally invasive treatment closes the vein while leaving it in place, allowing healing in a gentle way, minimizing some of the cosmetic concerns frequently associated with varicose veins. With this procedure, you’re not going to replace visible veins with visible scars. You’ll feel confident in your legs once again.
During this procedure, a surgeon inserts a catheter into the vein, similar to an IV, after which they apply heat energy through a laser fiber. This irritates the vein and causes it to seal shut. The body has natural processes to absorb the vein, effectively removing it without scarring. Meanwhile, the blood is rerouted to healthy veins. Painful wires and long incisions are no longer necessary to get rid of unhealthy veins!
There are numerous advantages to endovenous laser treatment, especially when compared to vein stripping. The procedure is less expensive, has fewer complications, a lower risk of recurrence, and minimal discomfort. Since this procedure is minimally invasive, it’s quick with minimal downtime. Patients are back up on their feet right after treatment. There’s no reason to be afraid of modern-day vein care — it’s quick, easy, stress-free and done conveniently in our office.
Why Seek Vein Treatment?
Even with improvements made to vein care, it may still seem easier to put off treatment. However, we encourage you to seek a consultation with a specialist if you have any vein concerns. Everyone experiences vein problems differently. One patient may have cosmetic concerns about their veins’ appearance, another patient may experience itching, and another may have great discomfort. There are many symptoms associated with venous insufficiency, including bulging veins, pain, itching, restlessness, or heaviness in the legs. The only way to know exactly what is going on with these veins is through a consultation with a specialist. Blood clots, scarring of big tissues and ulceration can also be side effects of venous insufficiency.
Vein care is critical since varicose veins don’t go away over time — in fact, it’s likely that they will get worse. Keep in mind what causes varicose veins: they’re formed when vein valves break down, making it difficult to push blood upward through the leg, against the flow of gravity. Instead of being carried through the leg, the blood pools in the vein. Circulation is important, and a lack of it can cause bigger problems down the road. A venous ulcer could form, or a blood clot could form and travel through the veins to the heart or lung. Catching vein problems early can prevent you from experiencing these more serious problems later!
Seeing a Vein Specialist
If you’re having any venous concerns, it’s important to first see a specialist who has been trained in vein care. They’ll use a diagnostic exam like a Diagnostic Vascular Ultrasound to assess the current state of your vein health and figure out if endovenous laser treatment will be the best choice for your veins. If not, they may suggest another form of minimally invasive treatment, such as sclerotherapy or microphlebectomy. Most modern treatments are still capable of treating the vein without resorting to painful stripping! Afterward, you’ll be able to enjoy life without painful legs affecting your day.
Curious about whether Endovenous Laser Treatment is right for you? Come visit the best vascular surgeons in Orlando at the Central Florida Vein & Vascular Center. Our board-certified physicians have dedicated themselves to giving you the best vein care possible throughout every step of treatment. And you’ll find no painful vein stripping here! All of our procedures are minimally invasive, so you can feel at ease about your vein care. Call us at 407-545-3385 or 352-658-5547 to schedule a consultation today. We’ll help you get back to having pain-free legs that you can feel confident with.