Varicose veins are veins that have become twisted and enlarged. Most often they occur in your legs, just under the skin. Most of us have few symptoms or problems because of these veins but others may develop complications that include bleeding or thrombophlebitis which is inflammation that may lead to a blood clot. As we age, varicose veins are more common. The valves in our veins may become weaker, which allows the blood to flow backward. The pressure from this backward flow of blood can cause our veins to bulge.
What are the treatments for varicose veins?
- Sclerotherapy. With this procedure your doctor will inject a solution into your veins which closes them. In a few weeks the veins will fade. This is a minimally invasive procedure which can be done in your doctor’s office.
- Laser procedures. New technology involves laser treatments to close off smaller veins and spider veins. A laser will send strong bursts of light onto the vein which slowly makes it disappear.
- Catheter-assisted procedure. This is usually done only for large veins. Your doctor will insert a thin tube or catheter into the enlarged vein and heat the tip of the catheter. When the catheter is pulled out, the heat causes the vein to collapse and seal shut.
- Endoscopic vein surgery. This operation is only used in advanced cases which involve leg ulcers. Your surgeon will insert a small camera into your leg to look at the veins and close them. The veins are then removed through small incisions in your skin.
Procedures such as vein stripping are rarely done anymore because of the newer, more advanced techniques which are faster and much less invasive. The healing process is also much quicker. Always discuss various alternatives with your doctor. Most varicose veins are easily treated in your doctor’s office. To read more on varicose vein treatment in seniors, click here.