Varicose veins have been treated many different ways over the years. The treatment of varicose veins has evolved and advanced over the years into a speciality in medicine, called Phlebology, the study and treatment of vein disease.
At Laser Away, our treatment team is trained in phlebology, ultrasound assessment, and attend advanced vein treatment training and education annually. Dr Pinette has completed a fellowship in Phlebology with the Canadian Society of Phlebology and remains active in that organization. Treatment of veins is our job.
Although there are many options available for varicose vein treatment, there are basically 5 main treatments that can be considered.
These are good for all veins. They help prevent varicose veins from developing or worsening. They help your legs feel better at the end of the day. And they are used to help more advanced vein disease such as sores and swelling get better. If you have varicose veins and do not wish to have any procedure done to correct them, you can manage any symptoms and reduce their progression by wearing compression stockings daily. It is important to have your legs evaluated before starting compression wear to ensure that you get the best fit. At Laser Away, we will do a full vein assessment and make recommendations on the proper compression stockings. For your convenience, all our staff are certified fitters for compression stockings and we carry the full line of Sigvaris stockings which we can provide to you.
Using tiny needles, we inject liquid or foam into the leg veins to irritate the veins. Then with compression on the veins, the veins will sclerose (close down) and the blood flow will be redirected to healthy deeper veins. Sclerosed veins will eventually be reabsorbed by the body. Sclerotherapy is the most common vein treatment done in North America. Liquid sclerotherapy can be used for all sizes of veins in the legs and body. However, for larger or more resistant varicose veins, foam sclerotherapy can be used. The long term vein closure rates with foam sclerotherapy are 80-85%. Sclerotherapy has no down time and can be easily repeated if veins recur over the years.
Great new treatments have been developed, tested, and used for hundreds of thousands of people in the last 20 years. Endovenous means “inside the vein”. These procedures are usually used for the larger saphenous veins of the legs. An endovenous treatment involves threading a small wire into the varicose vein using ultrasound to monitor where the wire is. Then the vein is closed from the inside by using either heat or mechanical energy or glue. Endovenous treatments are very successful in long-term closure of the large varicose veins, achieving 90-95% long term closure rates. The cost of endovenous procedures is not covered by Manitoba Health. The cost ranges from $1500 – 2500 depending on the type of treatment and whether both legs are being done.
In years past, vein ligation (cutting) and stripping (pulling out veins) was the most common treatment for varicose veins. Vein stripping is still performed today by most vascular surgeons. In experienced hands, a procedure called high ligation and stripping can likely give you a 75% chance of getting rid of the veins long term. This procedure involves being put under anaesthesia and at least two weeks of downtime, bruising, and pain. Stripping is usually only done for the larger saphenous veins of the legs. All other varicosed veins will need to be treated with other methods afterwards (such as sclerotherapy). Afterwards, your legs may have scars that last your lifetime and you may have recurrence 25% of the time. In Manitoba, we refer to the vascular surgeons if you wish to have this done and the wait time to see these specialists just for your initial consultation is usually 6-8 years or longer. The cost of surgical stripping for symptomatic varicose veins is covered in Manitoba by Manitoba Health.
Typically we would only suggest using laser vein removal for smaller veins on the trunk and face and for cherry spots anywhere on the body. From experience, we know that veins in the legs will respond better and quicker to sclerotherapy rather than laser vein removal so we will usually suggest the best options for you. However, for people who cannot have sclerotherapy or prefer to have laser vein removal done on their leg veins, we can do this for you as well. Our highly trained laser technicians can work to remove your smaller legs veins over several treatments. FIND OUT MORE ABOUT LASER VEIN REMOVAL.
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