Varicose veins, common in the legs and feet, are enlarged, twisted veins that may occur as a result of prolonged standing or walking. For many people, varicose veins are simply a cosmetic concern; for others, varicose veins can cause aching, pain and discomfort, leading to more serious problems.
Vein ablation therapies (laser, radiofrequency, or mechanical injection) are minimally invasive image-guided procedures that safely and effectively treat varicose veins. SLUCare vascular interventional radiologists are minimally invasive specialists who perform these procedures.
The first step in vein ablation is applying local anesthetic to the skin over the vein. Then, guided by ultrasound, the doctor inserts a thin tube – a catheter, about the size of a strand of spaghetti – into the abnormal vein. The catheter then applies laser or radiofrequency energy to the inside of the vein to seal it closed. Alternatively, mechanical injection of a foam-like irritant can be used to cause the vein to spasm and clot.
By closing varicose veins, which are close to the skin, the veins visibly shrink and improve in appearance. In addition, once the diseased vein is closed, the surrounding healthy veins are no longer burdened by the leaking blood flow. Other healthy veins take over to carry blood from the leg, re-establishing normal flow.
The entire treatment typically lasts 20-30 minutes and patients go home the same day.
After treatment, patients wear compression stockings to speed recovery and help prevent new varicose veins from forming.
We are minimally invasive image-guided specialists. Our fellowship-trained doctors offer expertise in vein ablation procedures.
No stitches needed. Our minimally invasive approach uses an incision so tiny it can be covered with just a Band-Aid®.
Our collaborative approach assures comprehensive care. SLUCare interventional radiologists work with diabetes specialists, physical therapists, and wound care specialists to deliver the best possible outcome.
For an appointment, call 314-977-5600.