Today’s Treatments are a Walk in the Park!
For many people, varicose veins are a cosmetic concern. But for others, they
can cause aching pain and discomfort—enough to make a brisk walk something
to avoid. And sometimes the condition leads to more serious problems, such
as open sores.
Have you been putting up with the discomfort, wanting to avoid surgery?
There’s good news: Compared to surgical treatments of the past, today’s
treatments are a walk in the park!
Varicose veins (varix = twisted) are gnarled, enlarged veins that are visible
under your skin. They may have a ropey appearance and be raised above the
surface of the skin. Any vein may become varicose, but the most commonly affected
areas are legs and feet.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs that your varicose veins may require treatment include:
|| An achy or heavy feeling in your legs.
|| Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping, and swelling
in your lower legs.
||Enlarged veins visible under the skin of your legs.
Apnea (brief periods in which the sleeper
does not breathe), shortness of breath,and inability to get enough oxygen
into the blood.
|| Brownish-gray areas on your ankle.
|| Itching around the veins.
|| Skin ulcers (open sores) near your ankle. These
represent a severe form of vascular disease and require immediate attention.
|| If the veins involved lie deep within your
legs, not on the surface, your legs may swell considerably. Please note:
Any sudden leg swelling, whether or not it is accompanied by pain and
redness, warrants urgent medical attention, as it may indicate a blood clot.
Varicose veins can be eliminated by surgery or laser treatment.
Surgery: At Bridgeport Hospital, a new technique permits
vascular surgeons to remove varicose veins faster and more effectively than
Traditional varicose vein surgery involves making short incisions at various
points along the length of the vein, and using an instrument to pull the vein
out through these incisions.
With the new technique, the vascular surgeon inserts a tiny motorized device
into the vein through small incisions to cut the vessel into small pieces.
After suctioning the pieces out, the surgeon uses a miniature light to visually
confirm that the entire vein has been removed.
"This new process is more effective and less traumatic than traditional
surgical removal," says Bridgeport Hospital–affiliated vascular
surgeon Paul Demartini, MD. "It reduces the time and the number of incisions
required to perform the procedure. Studies suggest that this new method also
reduces pain," he adds.
Laser: Vascular radiologists can perform varicose vein
treatment using laser technology guided by ultrasound (images created using
painless sound waves). This procedure is performed using local anesthesia
and involves only a single small puncture of the vein. Guided by ultrasound
images, a catheter (a long slender tube) is placed within the vein. A fiber-optic
laser is inserted through the catheter. With it, bursts of light are used
to damage the walls of the vein. The vein shrinks down over time and becomes
"The procedure takes about an hour, and at the end you’ll walk
out of the doctor’s office," says Bridgeport Hospital radiologist
Kenneth Zinn, MD. "You’ll wear a pressure stocking for a week,
and you can resume near-normal activity immediately. This procedure involves
very minimal risks and has a success rate of 97%," Dr. Zinn says.
Choosing a Treatment
Which treatment is best for you? This will depend on several factors, including:
You may want to get advice from your primary care physician, or you may
want to consult both a vascular surgeon and a vascular radiologist to make
For a referral to
an expert vascular surgeon and vascular radiologist, call Bridgeport Hospital
Physician Referral, 24/7, English/Spanish, at 888-357-2396.
Find an expert physician using our online Find a Physician search form.