VARICOSE & SPIDER VEIN THERAPY
The Bailey Cosmetic Surgery & Vein Centre´ is the only center in mid-Missouri to offer the entire complement of state-of-the-art vein care procedures. These procedures are always performed in the office under local anesthesia. Dr. Bailey was the first physician in Missouri to use the revolutionary 1320nm Cool Touch YAG laser for the treatment of varicose veins. The benefit of this device over the more commonly used Diode lasers is a marked reduction in post procedure pain and bruising.
VARICOSE VEINS TREATMENT (VENOUS INSUFFICIENCY)
State-of-the-art vein care is minimally invasive. There is no downtime and the procedures are office based. The modern treatment modalities include:
- Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLT)
- Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation
- Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy
- European Microphlebectomy
- Radiofrequency Perforator Closure
- Visual Sclerotherapy
- Surface Laser
The goal of all of these procedures is to close off abnormal veins and redirect blood into healthier deeper veins. Vein stripping is no longer necessary and is a historical operation.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. What are varicose veins (Venous Insufficiency)?
A. Our leg veins have many one way valves which allow blood to travel up toward the heart. Upon standing, the valves close in order to keep the blood from traveling backwards down the leg. When valves don’t close properly, blood travels backwards in the direction of gravity. This valve problem is known as venous reflux or venous insufficiency. It is unrelated to heart valve problems. The symptoms of venous insufficiency are due to the high pressure that develops in the veins as the blood travels backward. Over time the veins below the bad valves can become dilated and varicosed. This condition always progresses and often leads to complications such as skin damage, chronic leg swelling, blood clots, ulceration and even spontaneous bleeding. The exact location of the abnormal valves is determined with an ultrasound examination that is performed in the office.
Q. What is a Venous Ultrasound?
A. Venous ultrasound is a sophisticated noninvasive technology that uses sound waves to visualize which valves are abnormal. The exam is painless and also allows the physician to identify blood clots and other abnormalities. The result of this testing allows the physician to tailor treatments to each individual patient. The procedure is performed in the office and takes about 45 minutes.
Q. How common are varicose veins (Venous Insufficiency)?
A. Venous Insufficiency is a very common condition that affects women more commonly than men. Other risk factors include a history of blood clots, leg trauma, multiple childbirths, obesity and prolonged sitting or standing. It is estimated that 80 million Americans are affected by venous insufficiency. Approximately 40% of women in their 40’s and 50’s are affected. By age 70, approximately 70% of women are affected. Men in their 40’s and 50’s are affected about 15-20% of the time. Generally, venous insufficiency progresses with age.
Q. What are the symptoms of venous insufficiency?
A. The symptoms vary from person to person but can include the following:
- Leg aching, heaviness and tiredness that is worse at the end of the day
- Leg swelling that is worse at the end of the day
- Leg cramps at night
- Restless legs
- Blood clots
- Eczema type skin rash on lower legs
- Leg ulcers
- Spontaneous bleeding
- Occasionally patients experience a burning or numbness in their legs
Q. How is Laser or Radiofrequency used to treat venous insufficiency?
A. Laser or radiofrequency techniques may be used to close refluxing veins within the lower extremity under local anesthesia. Both technologies produce thermal energy (heat) to seal veins shut. These procedures are minimally invasive and there is no downtime. Through a 1 mm puncture site, a laser fiber or the radiofrequency catheter is inserted into the vein under ultrasound guidance. Once the laser fiber or radiofrequency device is positioned appropriately within the vein, the vein is surrounded with additional local anesthesia. When turned on, both devices apply heat to the inside of the vein, which instantly seals the vein shut as the device is pulled back.
This procedure takes 20-30 minutes in the office and the patient is left with the 1 mm puncture site that heals very quickly. The patient can return to normal activity immediately and will be advised to take oral anti-inflammatory medicine such as Ibuprofen for 5 to 7 days after the procedure. Both laser and radiofrequency procedures are extremely effective and are often performed in conjunction with microphlebectomy and/or ultrasound guided sclerotherapy.
Q. Is restless leg syndrome related to venous insufficiency?
A. According to a study by Clint Hayes, M.D. published in the Journal of Phlebology, almost 40% of patients with restless leg syndrome also have venous insufficiency. When their venous insufficiency was treated, symptoms were improved by 80%. Approximately 30% of the patients had no improvement however.
Q. Do all patients with venous insufficiency have varicose veins?
A. NO. Some patients may just have leg swelling that is worse at the end of the day. This chronic leg swelling leads to the development of a brown skin color near the ankle over time. This is known as hemosiderin staining.
Q. Can venous insufficiency lead to chronic leg swelling?
There are many reasons why people develop chronic leg swelling. Venous insufficiency is a very common underlying cause. Untreated this can damage the lymphatic system of the legs which further exacerbates the leg swelling. Ultimately the skin becomes damaged and a condition known as stasis dermatitis occurs. In this situation the skin becomes brown in color and can develop an open ulcer or even become infected. Other things that can lead to chronic leg swelling include blood clots, heart failure and some blood pressure medicines.
Q. Can I be cured of my predisposition to develop venous insufficiency?
A. Venous Insufficiency can be treated but the patient cannot be cured of the genetic propensity to develop reflux. Therefore as the patient ages it is possible that reflux or venous insufficiency will develop in other veins.