Varicose veins are the swollen, bluish and twisted veins appearing just beneath the skin. These veins appear very commonly on the legs and sometimes on other regions of the body.
What are the latest treatment options in varicose veins?
Traditional methods, such as ligation or stripping, are used to treat varicose veins. These methods may cause discomfort and require long recovery periods. The latest treatment options are minimally invasive and aim to accurately identify the vascular inefficiency and enable its complete removal. The recovery rate is faster with these techniques. They have fewer complications, offer total relief from the pain and improve the aesthetics of the legs. Many of these procedures can be done as day-care procedures. Some of the latest and most advanced treatment options to treat varicose veins are as follows:
Endovenous laser therapy (EVLT):
The technique uses a laser beam to heat up the walls of the affected veins so that the walls are destroyed by the heat. The treatment requires 20–30 minutes and can be conducted in an out-patient department.
This technique uses radiofrequency heat to close the affected vein. The radiofrequency heat is introduced through a catheter in the affected vein. The procedure lasts for 45-60 minutes and the recovery time is very less. You may go home the same day and visit the doctor regularly for further checkup.
This technique has evolved from the conventional sclerotherapy technique over the years. It includes the use of foam as a sclerosing agent (that damages the lining of the vein) in the form of smaller foam bubbles to expel the accumulated blood, thereby shutting down the damaged vein. The method is efficient and safe as it can be performed with a minimum amount of sclerosing agent and produces long-lasting results. Doctors perform this procedure without general anaesthesia in an out-patient setting.
Non-tumescent (NTNT) endovenous technologies:
Nowadays, doctors increasingly prefer these NTNT endovenous techniques over EVLT. These therapies do not use heat and involve the administration of chemical glue known as cyanoacrylate glue (CAG). The glue is a polymeric adhesive. Its administration into the vein sets off inflammatory responses. Being a highly viscous adhesive, CAG settles at the site of the affected vein. Furthermore, the surgeons allow the spillage of the glue in the branches of the vein. This action secures the adjoining affected veins. The doctors advise patients who have undergone this procedure to have regular follow-ups. The procedure is straightforward and with very few reports of adverse effects.
Another treatment used currently in the treatment of varicose veins is Mechanical Obstruction and Chemical Ablation (MOCA). It is a non-thermal technique that uses a metallic barb to injure the affected vein followed by its chemical ablation. The procedure is safe and free from side effects such as burns, or muscle and nerve injury.
High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)
It is a novel non- invasive method that uses high intensity focused ultrasound energy to ablate the affected vein so that it can be removed. The technique targets the affected vein and hence does not damage the surrounding area. It is safe and free from any complications. this is a relatively new technology, more studies and experience are awaited globally.
Medical advice is crucial for the accurate diagnosis and receiving the appropriate treatment options for your varicose veins. The novel methods are almost equally effective clinically, and you may consider the cost-effectiveness of the method while choosing a particular technique by consulting the expert vein specialist. Stockings have proven to be beneficial in all cases of varicose veins.
Conclusively, the latest treatment options to treat varicose veins can be combined to achieve maximum effectiveness and provide better relief. It is best to consult your vein specialist to choose a suitable option.