Treating varicose veins with laser treatment- Dr Bhavesh Arun Popat
The problem of varicose veins is not uncommon. You will see innumerable people having varicose veins in their legs. Many times, varicose veins are also referred to as spider veins, but they are slightly different from one another.
What are varicose veins and spider veins?
Veins are an integral part of the circulatory system in humans, which carry low-oxygen blood from different parts of the body to the heart and lungs for oxygenation. However, when the veins are not able to circulate the blood properly and the blood pools up, the veins have a bulging appearance. When the veins bulge out, they become quite prominently visible and are known as varicose veins. Though there are no such symptoms of varicose veins, some people might have the sensation of tiredness, heaviness or even aching and paining legs. In very rare, severe cases of varicose veins, they can rupture or form ulcers on the skin. Legs and thighs are the most common places where varicose veins can be seen.
Spider veins, on the other hand, are short fine lines of veins which appear like a web-like maze or in the form of clusters. These spider veins appear on the surface of the skin only. Areas, where spider veins are most commonly visible, include calves, thighs, feet, and ankles. Sometimes spider veins are also seen on the face of individuals.
Treatment of varicose veins
Generally, varicose veins and spider veins are considered cosmetic problems. No such treatment is needed for the same. However, there is no denying the fact that the appearance of these veins seem to be ugly and quite embarrassing. There are some cases of varicose veins which involve ulcers and these need treatment for sure. Apart from the severe cases, there are some other tips provided by the doctors for dealing with varicose vein issues. Wearing compression stockings and sclerotherapy are the most common treatments used for addressing the issue of varicose and spider veins. Along with these, laser treatments are also sought nowadays for getting rid of varicose veins and spider veins. In this article, we will discuss in detail about varicose veins treatment with laser.
Laser treatment for varicose veins
In laser treatment for varicose veins, a highly focused beam of light or laser is used for treating the problem. The varicose vein is damaged by the laser heat and a kind of scar is seen on the skin layer. The vein is closed by the scar tissue. In this manner, the closed vein loses its complete supply of blood source and finally dies. Within a span of one or two years, the varicose vein disappears.
There are two kinds of laser treatments available for varicose veins. They are as follows:
- Simple laser treatment–In simple laser treatment for varicose veins, the treatment is done on the outside surface of the skin. When varicose veins and spider veins are tiny and they appear just below the surface of the skin, this simple laser treatment can help in getting rid of this problem. Generally, for this treatment, more than one sitting of laser treatment is needed. The sessions are scheduled at an interval of every 6-12 weeks. This time period is actually decided by the doctor treating the problem. If there is poor blood circulation to the small and tiny veins, the bigger “feeder” vein should be treated with surgery, laser treatments or any other kinds of treatments which seem most suitable in this case.
- Endovenous laser treatment– Endovenous laser treatment is mainly used for the treatment of larger varicose veins, which appear in the legs of individuals. In the treatment process, the laser fiber is made to pass through a thin tube, known as a catheter, into the vein. While doing this process, the doctor keeps a close watch on the vein on a duplex ultrasound screen. When compared to stripping and vein litigation, laser treatment for varicose veins is a less painful process. Moreover, the time taken for recovery is also shorter in case of laser treatment. For laser treatment, local anesthesia is needed. In many people, a light sedative might also work well.
What can the patient expect after the laser treatment for varicose veins?
Once the laser treatment for varicose veins is done, you will be able to walk following the same. The recovery period for the problem is quite short and one can get back to normal activities quite quickly. Since the treatment process is simple, getting back to routine life is not a problem at all.
If you have undergone endovenous laser treatment for your varicose veins, you will be asked to wear compression stockings for a period of 1 week or even more. You will have to go for regular follow-ups and check up after the laser treatment. The doctor will use duplex ultrasound on the area of the varicose veins to ensure that the vein is completely closed.
How successful are laser treatments for varicose veins?
Innumerable people now choose laser treatments for dealing with the issue of varicose veins. This is because of the fact that these treatments are showing great positive results. In the case of simple laser treatments, it has been seen in the past 20 years, the treatment has become quite effective and safe at the same time.
In the case of endovenous laser treatment for varicose veins, the success rate is 94%, which is quite satisfactory. This means that out of 100 cases, in 94 cases the varicose veins are closed. In merely 6 cases out of 100, it does not work. Generally, a second treatment is needed in case a varicose vein is not closed with endevenous laser treatment. There are different kinds of second treatments on offer, which include the likes of radiofrequency treatment, sclerotherapy or another laser treatment. Vein surgery is recommended in some cases. The doctor will check the patient and recommend what is best for him.
It is always recommended to seek consultation from an experienced doctor for treating varicose veins with laser treatments.
Dr Bhavesh Arun Popat is a renowned Endovascular Specialist practicing in the city of Mumbai for the last 10 years. He has several national and international publications to his credit and he has been invited as a guest faculty at several workshops & national conferences. He is currently the Joint Secretary of Maharashtra State Branch of Indian Society of Vascular & Interventional Radiology (ISVIR) and is currently affiliated with Indian Society of Vascular & Interventional Radiology (ISVIR) and Cardiovascular & Interventional Radiology Society of Europe (CIRSE).