Baptist Health Lexington: Treating Varicose Veins
Vascular surgeon Thomas Schwarcz, MD, describes the formation of varicose veins and describes how treatment, such as combining endovenous ablation and microphlebectomy, can eliminate them. Then learn more about how varicose veins are formed and ways to prevent varicose veins from appearing. For more information about varicose vein causes and treatment, visit vascular and endovascular services.
Treating Varicose Veins Health Talks Transcript
Thomas Schwarcz, MD, Vascular Surgery
A varicose vein is one that has lost the ability of its valves to hold backward blood flow, and so what happens is blood will actually go back down the vein instead of being held in place and go back up to the heart. There are two main treatments for varicose veins. One is endovenous ablation, where you put a laser fiber into the main surface vein of the leg, and then numb up around it and actually burn the vein, so it forms a scar, and you can no longer get the backward flow down the leg, which causes the problems in the skin and lower down in the extremity. The other major procedure is microphlebectomy, where you use little pinhole incisions and hooks to take the actual branches out so they’re completely eliminated. Frequently, patients will need a combination of both those treatments for complete treatment.
Chrisa Auxier, RVT, Vascular Technology, Vein Central
We evaluate the deep system and the superficial system in order to give the physician the information they need to treat the patient.
It’s very important to determine where the problem is with the veins, and we use duplex ultrasound to do that. Duplex ultrasound is very effective for mapping out where the problems are in the varicose veins, where the valves don’t work, and which branches have what problems and why they have the problem. Based on the ultrasound mapping that we do, we determine if you need an endovenous ablation first, or you need a microphlebectomy only or need a combination of the two. Both treatments — endovenous ablation and microphlebectomy — are virtually painless. They’re done without stitches, and there are no scars left after the treatments, truly a tremendous advance in the management of varicose veins.
Varicose Vein Cause and Prevention
Why do you get varicose veins? They are the result of excessive pressure being put on the legs or abdomen. This pressure can be created by a number of conditions including obesity, standing for extended periods, pregnancy and chronic constipation. A sedentary lifestyle can also be a factor, as weakened muscles lose some of their ability to assist with the pumping of blood.
Once you know what causes varicose veins, you have a better idea of how to prevent varicose veins. Varicose veins prevention measures can include getting regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and eating a low-sodium, high-fiber diet. Moving from standing to sitting and vice versa regularly, avoiding tight hosiery and high heels, and elevating your legs can be helpful as well.
For more information about varicose vein surgery and removal, schedule an appointment with a Baptist Health specialist or call (859) 277-5711 to discuss your varicose veins treatment options.