Treatment: Support Hose to Surgery
The initial treatment for varicose veins is light weight support hose. These prevent both the veins from being stretched and the pooling o f the blood in the leg. In addition, intermittent elevation, routine exercise and weight loss (if indicated) can all be helpful in treating the symptoms. Because the stretching of the vein and pooling of the blood causes inflammation, anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen and naproxen can also be helpful. If these measures do not relieve the symptoms, surgical treatment of these may be considered medically reasonable and necessary.
“Vein Stripping” vs Minimally Invasive
In the past, surgery involved a “vein stripping,” or the actual removal of the main superficial vein. This was associated with a 4-6 week recovery time for each leg. The risk of recurrent veins was at least 40% in five years.
Minimally invasive techniques have replaced stripping and are now considered the gold standard in vein treatment across the country. Endovenous ablations, either by laser or by VNUS Closure, are minimally invasive techniques that destroy the main superficial vein (the greater saphenous vein) and have replaced stripping.
These procedures are often done in the office under local anesthetic. Patients often return to work the following day. Once the main superficial vein is closed, the blood will no longer pool down the leg into the varicose veins and these will fade over a few months time.
Shorter Recovery Time
Some practitioners and patients prefer to remove a few of the larger true varicose veins at the same time, using the same local anesthetic in the office. Recovery after that is usually only a few days.
Patients who have extensive varicose veins or veins that do not originate from the main superficial veins, may opt to have more extensive procedures done in the operating room for their comfort. Depending on the number of veins treated in these cases and the type of work the patient does, recovery is usually one to two weeks.
Although there is always the risk of new veins forming after any vein procedure, the risk after VNUS Closure appears to be less than half of that of traditional “stripping” operations. Follow-up with your surgeon can often be treated with injections or other office-based therapy if necessary. Complete relief of symptoms, including swelling, pain and fatigue after VNUS Closure, occurs in over 90% of cases with a high degree of patient satisfaction.