When vascular problems result in uncomfortable swelling and discoloration of the lower extremities, a doctor may recommend varicose veins treatment. In the past, medical techniques often involved painful procedures that did not always effectively or permanently address the problems. New technology has resulted in more options for better resolution of this painful malady.
New Ways to Diagnose
Even diagnostic techniques have changed significantly with modern medical technological advancements. Instead of a Doppler device pressed firmly against the leg to detect the areas where the vascular flow is diminished, special ultrasound tools provide faster results. Modern ultrasound machines enable a physician to examine the entire landscape of the leg to see all the intricacies of the circulatory system. The resulting image is both sharp and two-dimensional. This image is a useful tool physicians use to determine the exact vein that is causing problems.
Years ago, patients had to undergo uncomfortable procedures for varicose veins treatment. A physician would insert a flexible rod under the skin near the groin, and then pass the rod through the entire vein. The physician would then attach a metal cap to the end of the rod. In the final step, the rod was pulled back through the vein and out from the groin incision. This process would strip the vessel to eliminate it from the vascular system. In its absence, other veins would take over to transport blood.
An ambulatory phlebectomy is another example of an older treatment technique, but some patients still prefer this method. With this procedure, a physician pulls out the vessel with a special tool. Once removed, other vessels take over immediately. The benefit of an ambulatory phlebectomy is immediate results without waiting for reabsorption.
Today doctors utilize newer, more advanced techniques to restore vascular health. One procedure involves inserting a thin catheter into the faulty vein. By applying radio waves, the vessel wall shrinks and collapses. Patients do not experience scarring after this procedure, but some people will notice bruising. The final reabsorption may take up to two months to complete.
Laser therapy is a popular and non-invasive varicose veins treatment. A doctor directs a laser to force the vessel to collapse. Patients may experience slight discomfort when the laser beam hits the skin. Medical personnel immediately reduce this discomfort by cooling the skin.
Foam sclerotherapy involves mixing a special detergent with air to create a medicine that resembles thin shaving cream. The doctor injects the foam, causing swelling and blockage. Once this occurs, other venous systems step up to handle the blood flow. This type of therapy is best for less severe issues.