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Therapy for Varicose Veins

Varicose veins, those protruding twisted veins in the legs, can now be treated with less invasive techniques that avoid large incisions and allow patients to resume normal activities within a day.

Vascular surgeons at Sacred Heart Hospital provide procedures that close off a troublesome vein in the legs. Varicose veins can develop when the valves in the large saphenous vein that usually keeps blood flowing out of your legs become damaged or diseased.

As a result of the valve damage, some blood is pulled by gravity back down the leg, causing smaller veins in the lower legs to swell and widen as blood collects in them. The swollen varicose veins are unsightly, but also can cause severe pain and weariness in the leg.

Varicose veins can occur for a variety of reasons and they tend to run in families. They also are more frequent in women than in men. Over time, they tend to get worse.

The traditional approach to removal of varicose veins is a surgery called vein stripping, literally stripping the troublesome vein out of the leg – from the groin to just below the knee. The stripping procedure usually leaves the patient’s leg bruised and sore for days, and it can cause scarring.

Sacred Heart surgeons offer non-surgical procedures to seal off varicose veins, using catheters equipped with a laser or radiofrequency energy.

Once the diseased vein is closed, other healthy veins take over and empty blood from the legs. The procedure takes about 30 minutes and symptoms should improve noticeably within one or two weeks. Most patients can resume normal activities within a day or two.


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