How to Non-surgically Treat Varicose Veins
More than 80 million Americans have venous insufficiency - a condition where the valves in the veins of the legs do not properly function to prevent blood from pooling in the legs and ankles. Venous insufficiency frequently leads to varicose veins and sometimes leg and ankle swelling.
Veins carry blood back to the heart. From your leg, the blood must flow upward against gravity. Normal veins have one-way valves to prevent the blood from flowing backwards. Over time these valves can fail to close tightly, allowing blood to pool, causing the bulging and twisting characteristics of varicose veins. Varicose veins can be unattractive and cause leg tiredness, aching, burning, brownish discoloration, and even ulceration and bleeding.
A new laser procedure, called VenaCure, offers patients an alternative to surgery. It is performed in an outpatient setting and requires only local anesthetic, avoiding the risks of general anesthesia.
This procedure is "minimally invasive," meaning the entry point through which your physician inserts the laser fiber is extremely small, not even requiring stitches. Energy is emitted from the laser fiber, essentially "welding" the vein closed. The local anesthetic makes the procedure painless. The procedure takes about 45 minutes. You'll be up and walking as soon as it's over, returning to normal activity.
Compression hose are worn for two weeks. Bruising and mild discomfort occur several days after the procedure and typically require a mild over-the-counter pain reliever such as Advil for alleviation of the discomfort.
VenaCure has proved to be 97 percent effective, making recurrence very unlikely. Follow-up procedures may be desired to obtain optimal aesthetic results.
Insurance covers the cost of the procedure when it is done to treat the symptoms caused by venous reflux disease, e.g., pain, tiredness, aching, etc., but will not cover the cost of the procedure if done only for cosmetic reasons.
A thorough evaluation, including an ultrasound, is done before the procedure to determine the exact problem, which veins are involved, and the most appropriate approach for therapy. Drs. Scott Kemmerer, James Morrow, and Jim Busch are all members of the American Board of Radiology and certified in Vascular and Interventional Radiology. They have taken a special interest in treating varicose veins and spider veins in the legs, and are on the medical staff at Tennessee Imaging and Vein Center, located at 1949 Gunbarrel Road, Suite 170. You can call (423) 893-7226 to be seen by one of these doctors at a free screening._______________________________________________________________________
Scott R. Kemmerer, MD, Find out: How to Non-surgically Treat Varicose Veins, (Chattanooga: Ask the Expert, MedLine Plus, 2005), 16.