Varicose veins often affect the legs, creating blue or purple veins that can bulge and show through the translucent surface skin. A smaller cousin called spider veins may appear as red or blue web-like veins. These signs of a vein disorder can be warning signs of serious blood vessel issues, but often they’re cosmetic issues, as well.
There are three common techniques used to treat varicose and spider veins combined under the term endovenous ablation, removing tissue from treatment within the vein. Dr. Clement Banda of MD Vein & Skin Specialists routinely performs endovenous ablation as part of his expertise in vein health. Here’s what you should know about the 3 types of endovenous ablation used to treat varicose veins.
How varicose veins develop
Veins become varicose when valves inside veins begin to fail. These valves normally prevent the backward flow of blood in veins, ensuring movement back to the heart. As they fail, blood can pool and stretch vein walls near the skin’s surface, creating the characteristic bulging and discoloration of varicose veins. This is usually most obvious in the legs, where veins work hardest against gravity.
You may be at risk of developing varicose veins if you have one or more of these factors:
- Long hours spent sitting or standing: veins need the pumping motion created by leg muscle movement
- Overweight: extra pounds add to the pressure on veins
- Getting older: wear and tear can cause veins to fail
- Gender: women develop varicose veins more often than men
- Genetics: when immediate family members have varicose veins, you’re more likely to develop them too
- Pregnancy: the weight and hormone changes in your body may lead to this condition
Varicose veins can also result from leg injuries. While many patients have no other symptoms, it’s possible you may have sensations like itchiness and burning in your legs. Heavy aching legs, swelling in the lower legs, and cramping are also sometimes symptoms.
3 types of endovenous ablation
Your body can revascularize itself, so superficial varicose veins can be removed without affecting your blood flow. While there are surgeries to physically remove varicose veins, endovenous ablation is the most common approach. Each of these three techniques causes veins to close completely. At that point, your body starts to get rid of the compromised tissue naturally.
Laser light energy delivered by a fiber optic probe inserted into the vein through a tiny incision heats up the blood remaining in a varicose vein section. This heat creates scar tissue that blocks the vein, triggering the absorption of varicose vein tissue.
Working on the same principle as laser ablation, the radiofrequency version uses a catheter that heats vein walls as it’s pulled through a varicose section. This, too, creates scar tissue to promote absorption.
Laser and radiofrequency methods use heat. Sclerotherapy uses a chemical irritant injected into the varicose vein to trigger the scarring process. Dr. Banda typically uses foam sclerotherapy for its greater efficiency versus liquid agents.
The right ablation procedure depends on your condition. Dr. Banda prefers sclerotherapy for spider veins and smaller varicose veins, choosing laser ablation for larger veins. The best way to decide is to consult with Dr. Banda after a physical examination and a review of your symptoms.
Call or click to schedule your appointment with MD Vein & Skin Specialists. Treatment now means improved leg appearance by the time warm weather returns. Book your visit now.