What are varicose veins?
Veins are channels that bring blood from the extremity back to the heart. Veins are made of one way valves, and if these one way valves malfunction then the veins become enlarged. Enlarged veins are called spider veins or varicose veins. Spider veins are small red, blue or purple veins on the surface of the skin while varicose veins are larger distended veins that are located somewhat deeper than spider veins. Pain in the legs is frequently related to these abnormal leg veins. Severer varicose veins can also compromise the nutrition of the skin and lead to skin disease.
What causes varicose veins?
Heredity is the number one contributing factor causing varicose veins. Hormonal factors including puberty, pregnancy, menopause and use of birth control pills, estrogen and progesterone affect the disease. Other predisposing factors to the cause of varicose veins include aging, standing for long periods, leg injury and being overweight.
How does a laser treat varicose veins?
A laser is a light source that can reduce or eliminate a veins appearance by a thermal or “warming process.” The laser treatment may be combined with another process called sclerotherapy, which is described below. In some instances the laser treatment may be the only method chosen for vein treatment.
What is sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a procedure where a medication is directly injected into a varicose vein, which irritates the lining of the vein. In response the varicose veins collapse and are reabsorbed. The surface veins are no longer visible. Sclerotherapy relieves symptoms due to varicose veins and spider veins in most patients.
How many sclerotherapy treatments are needed for varicose veins?
You may need one to several sclerotherapy sessions for any vein region. Depending on the degree of varicose veins and the number of areas affected will determine the number of treatments.
What is the sclerotherpy procedure like?
Generally you are lying down while small amounts of medication are injected in the varicose veins. Medically prescribed support hose may need to be worn for several days to weeks to assist in resolution of the veins. Sclerotherapy is performed in the office and causes minimal discomfort. Patients are generally advised to resume normal activity after the procedure and normal paced walking may also provide added benefit.
What happens after the procedure?
You are advised to resume normal activity the day of the procedure. Normal paced walking up to 30 minutes after the procedure may also be beneficial. Bruising and pigmentation is expected after the procedure and usually disappears within a few weeks or so. Although pigmentation almost always fades, it can last for several months. Scaring and other complications are rare.
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