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Varicose Vein Ablation at Wake Radiology
Venous insufficiency is a very common condition resulting from decreased blood flow from the leg veins up to the heart, with pooling of blood in the veins. Normally, one-way valves in the veins keep blood flowing toward the heart, against the force of gravity. When the valves become weak and don’t close properly, they allow blood to flow backward, a condition called reflux. Veins that have lost their valve effectiveness, become elongated, rope-like, bulged, and thickened. These enlarged, swollen vessels are known as varicose veins and are a direct result of increased pressure from reflux. A common cause of varicose veins in the legs is reflux in a thigh vein called the great saphenous, which leads to pooling in the visible varicose vein. At Wake Radiology, we offer three types of varicose vein ablation procedures in Cary, NC at our convenient outpatient facility. Schedule an appointment with one of our interventional radiologists today to learn more about how you can start living a pain-free life.
Endovenous Laser Ablation
This procedure is used for treatment of venous insufficiency, a disorder of the greater saphenous vein in 80% of patients. In this condition, the vein flow is reversed or “refluxes” when you are standing up. The result is that over the years the veins near the surface of the skin enlarge and eventually become varicose veins. The older treatment for this disorder was the so-called “vein stripping” procedure that was performed in the operating room and required admission to the hospital. This new varicose vein treatment is much less invasive and is performed on an outpatient basis in our clinic. A small catheter is inserted into the vein requiring treatment using ultrasound images for guidance. A laser is inserted through this catheter and is used to heat the inside of the vein which destroys the vein and prevents reflux in the future. The entire procedure is performed under local anesthesia with minimal discomfort. This procedure does not affect arterial flow to or venous flow from the leg as this occurs in a deep group of blood vessels.
This procedure is used for treating varicose veins too large to treat with sclerotherapy (injection of a special solution) or topical laser therapy. Multiple very small incisions are made in the skin under local anesthetic, and the vein is removed with a special instrument. Other than mild stinging from the local anesthetic, this procedure is painless. For very long veins or multiple veins, we sometimes will do this procedure in two settings.
Sclerotherapy and Topical Laser Therapy
Sclerotherapy is the injection of a solution into the vein (we use Sotradecol which is an FDA-approved drug for this therapy) that causes the vein to “sclerose” or clot off, becoming permanently occluded. In our practice, this therapy is used for veins too small to remove by phlebectomy and too large to treat comfortably with the topical laser. The procedure is associated with minimal discomfort, as a very small needle is used and the sclerosing solution injection is painless. We prefer not to use this technique for treating “spider veins,” as there is risk of developing hyperpigmentation at the treatment site. Topical or superficial laser therapy uses a special laser (different from the laser used for saphenous vein ablation) to treat small superficial veins called telangiectatic varices, better known as “spider veins.” A special, safely formulated anesthetic cream is applied to the skin an hour or so before the treatment. The laser is then aimed at the lesions and the small veins are coagulated beneath the skin. The laser we use for this delivers almost all its energy beneath the skin and there is little risk of depigmentation even in deeply pigmented individuals as the laser energy is not absorbed by the skin pigment.
Schedule a Varicose Vein Treatment Appointment Today!
Interested in learning more about how Wake Radiology can treat your varicose veins? Contact us today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to giving you healthy, beautiful legs you will be proud to show off!