Capitol Vein Blog

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Vein Treatments Improve Patient Outcomes

One of my Ashburn, Virginia patients had seen several family members undergo varicose vein treatments over the years and was curious if vein stripping is still a commonly performed procedure. Her question helps illustrate that there is still a general lack of awareness of the technological advances that have arisen in the last decade to treat varicose veins. We find that even many primary care doctors do not understand how varicose vein treatment now is much more successful and involves far fewer complications than in the era of vein stripping, a hospital based procedure done under general anesthesia.

One of the things that has simplified treatment and led to superior outcomes is the use of duplex ultrasound, both during the diagnostic phase and the treatment phase. This painless evaluation lets us understand very precisely the cause of the venous reflux. The ultrasound shows how the vein valves work to propel the blood up the leg in the proper direction and also how the valves are defective, allowing blood to flow backward. Once we have this important information, we can target therapy to the exact source of the venous insufficiency. Prior to the adoption of routine duplex scanning, vein stripping as imprecise. Now, using endovenous ablation (VNUS Closure) combined with duplex, patients find treatment to be effective treatment with minimal post procedure discomfort.

As you know, medicine is an ever-changing science and newer options are becoming available in the next few years. As an example, a new technique, Varithena, will allow us to use sclerotherapy to treat the incompetent great saphenous vein, thereby reducing the venous hypertension. Varithena uses a proprietary device that will blend oxygen and carbon dioxide, instead of room air, into the sclerosant, thereby theoretically reducing any harmful side effects of foam sclerotherapy. There are other less harmful side effects to Varithena that will likely still make thermal ablation, done with VNUS Closure, the preferred option for saphenous vein reflux in most patients.  Contact CVL with any questions you may have about varicose vein treatment.

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