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Treatment for Varicose Veins!
Typically, the first line of therapy for varicose veins is compression therapy. The patient wears support stockings and elevates his/her legs as often as possible throughout the day. The support stockings and leg elevation reduce the pooling or backward flow of blood. Another option for treatment of varicose veins is sclerotherapy. A special liquid is injected into the affected vein. The liquid contains an irritant that causes inflammation and fibrosing of the vein -- closing off the affected area of the vein. This forces the rerouting of blood through more healthy veins.
A more invasive treatment for varicose veins is surgery. In traditional vein stripping, the surgeon makes a long incision in the leg. A special wire is inserted into the incision and down through the vein. The wire is then used to pull the affected vein out through the incision. The procedure leaves a long empty channel in which blood can accumulate. The surgery causes a lot of trauma to the limb and a lot of post-operative pain and discomfort. Patients generally require a two-day stay in the hospital for recovery.
Some doctors are using a less invasive surgical technique for the treatment of varicose veins. The surgery is known as an ambulatory phlebectomy. Several tiny puncture incisions (four or five, about two inches apart) are made along the skin over the affected vein. A special small hook is placed through the incision and under the vein. As the surgeon lifts the hook, the vein is gently pulled out through the incision.
The vein is then clamped and that section of the vessel is removed. The procedure is repeated through each incision until the desired length of vein is removed. Since the procedure is less invasive and less traumatic, the patient only requires a local anesthetic. The surgery can even be done in the doctor's office or in an outpatient hospital setting. The tiny puncture wounds heal very quickly and usually leave no scars.
As with traditional surgery, there is still a small risk of nerve injury with the ambulatory phlebectomy.
Bohler, Kornelia, et al., "Varicose Vein Stripping -- A Prospective Study of the Thrombotic Risk and the Diagnostic Significance of Preoperative Color Coded Duplex Sonography," Thrombosis and Haemostasis, April 1995, Vol. 73, No. 4, pp. 597-600.
Goren, Gabriel, M.D., and Albert Yellin, "Ambulatory Stab Evelsion Phlebectomy for Truncal Varicose Veins," The American Journal of Surgery, August 1991, Vol. 162, No. 2, pp. 166-174.
Goren, Gabriel, M.D., and Albert Yellin, "Minimally Invasive Surgery for Primary Varicose Veins," Annals of Vascular Surgery, July 1995, Vol. 9, No. 4, pp. 401-414.
Guex, J.J., "Thrombotic Complications of Varicose Veins," Dermatologic Surgery, April 1996, Vol. 22, No. 4, pp. 378-382.
Please remember: this information is not meant to substitute for a consultation with your physician, or another health care professional. Speak with your doctor if you have questions about primary care, or about any medical problem.
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