In decades past, there were three primary methods for varicose veins treatments. A phlebectomy is a surgical procedure in which a surgeon removes the affected veins in pieces via multiple small incisions. Litigation and stripping is another formerly very popular surgical procedure that involves cutting off the end of the vein, tying it off, and stripping it through one small incision and then pulling the vein out through a second. Sclerotherapy was, for quite some time, the only non-surgical solution to dealing with this unsightly problem. It involves the use of chemical irritants injected into the vein. The chemicals cause the vein to collapse and seal itself so that blood can no longer travel through the affected area.
Although sclerotherapy, phlebectomies, and stripping are still fairly popular varicose veins treatments, there are now other options available as well. EVLA, or endovenous laser ablation, is one popular method. It involves the placement of a laser fiber in the impacted vein. The laser causes a reaction similar to that associated with traditional sclerotherapy but with less discomfort. It requires the use of only local anesthesia and can be ultrasound assisted to allow the surgeon performing the procedure to make only one small incision. RFA, or radiofrequency ablation, uses thermal heat to cause damage to the vein, resulting in its closure. With both of these minimally invasive procedures, the affected vein will undergo re-absorption into the body over time.
The most recent development in medical technologies used to treat varicose and related spider veins is known as VenaSeal or vein glue. This medical grade glue is inserted into the affected vein through a small catheter, gluing the walls together, and forming a seal. The procedure itself is quick and simple, requiring only 15-20 minutes to complete, but it takes several hours for the treated vein to harden over. The vein is then reabsorbed over the course of the coming months.
Any treatment that involves sealing the vein will be more successful, and the healing process less likely to involve complications, if patients exercise regularly after receiving treatment and wear support hose or compression stockings to encourage healthy blood flow.