Varicose Veins Treatment
Before treatment begins, the SMIL Medical Imaging Vein Clinic will examine the affected areas with a Doppler Duplex Ultrasound Scan. With this diagnostic imaging, SMIL is able to “see” beneath the skin, create a map of the patient’s varicose veins and pinpoint where the vein valves are not working properly. A personalized treatment is then created which is targeted to the specific abnormal areas of each individual patient.
Advanced treatments have replaced a medical procedure widely known as vein stripping. Vein stripping was a surgical procedure which could have a prolonged recovery time and was often unsuccessful. New technology has virtually eliminated the need for surgical intervention and vein stripping. SMIL interventional radiologist physicians use minimally invasive techniques that allow for office based treatments with minimal discomfort and fast recovery time.
SMIL Medical Imaging offers the following office-based varicose vein treatment procedures:
- Endoluminal Venous Ablation (ELVA)
Endoluminal venous ablation is a superior alternative to surgical stripping. Endoluminal venous ablation is a minimally invasive procedure performed under local anesthesia and mild sedation, which is usually completed in about an hour. Ablation involves a SMIL interventional radiologist physician placing a tiny specialized catheter into an enlarged varicose vein. Heat is then applied to the inside of the varicose vein through the catheter using safe radiofrequency waves. This causes the varicose vein to close. The body automatically and harmlessly routes the blood to healthy veins. There is also a significant improvement in cosmetic appearance. Patients walk out of the SMIL Vein Clinic shortly after the treatment and most often resume normal activities within 1-2 days.
- Ambulatory Phlebectomy (AP)
Ambulatory phlebectomy is an effective method of removing varicose veins on the surface of the legs. A SMIL interventional radiologist physician removes the varicose veins through tiny incisions, small enough that no sutures are required, and the procedure is done under local anesthetic in the SMIL Vein Clinic. Ambulatory Phlebectomy results in relief of pain from symptomatic varicose veins and produces excellent cosmetic results. There may be slight bruising following this procedure but this resolves in a week’s time.
- Sclerotherapy & Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy
Sclerotherapy is a routine method of closing and eliminating tiny spider veins on the skin surface by injecting them with medication. The SMIL interventional radiology physician uses a very fine needle to inject a solution directly into the veins causing the vein lining to seal. This shuts down the blood flow which gave them a discolored appearance. Over time the veins are then naturally absorbed by the body and disappear. Sclerotherapy can also be used to treat branches of varicose veins that would not be optimally treated by ablation or phlebectomy Sometimes the abnormal vein to be treated is slightly below the skin and not easily seen with the naked eye. In those cases ultrasound is used to help direct these injections. The downtime from sclerotherapy is minimal.
Follow up SMIL ultrasound scans confirm closure of veins treated by each of these methods.
One frequent question is: “Why don’t we need the veins which are ablated or removed by these procedures?” Simply put, all of the veins treated are classified as superficial veins and not critically important. The body simply re-routes blood into the deep veins of the legs, and from there back to the heart.
The evaluation of potential venous disease in the legs starts with a simple visit here at the SMIL Medical Imaging Vein Clinic. If venous disease is thought to be present, then the next step is an evaluation using ultrasound imaging. A SMIL treatment plan is then developed and customized to the individual patient.