General Vein Disease Questions:
Click on the question below to read the answer.
1. What are my chances of having vein disease?
Venous or vein insufficiency is a common problem in our country. It occurs in 7% of all males and 20% of all women. 50% of people over 50 years of age have some venous disease.
If both of your parents have varicose veins, you have a 90% chance of developing varicose veins. If one of your parents have varicose veins, you have a 50% chance of developing the disease. If neither of your parents has varicose veins, you still have a 20% chance of developing the disease.
Varicose veins are 3 times more common in women. Pregnancy increases vein disease. With the birth of 3 or more children, incidence of the disease increases to 60% or more.
2. What happens if I don't address the problems with my veins?
Venous insufficiency is a progressive disease (it gets worse with time) that increases with age, pregnancies, long periods of standing, lack of exercise, and excessive weight gain. Untreated symptoms such as aching, pain, tightness, heaviness, muscle cramps, fatigue, restless legs, and itching increase as do signs of the advanced disease: swelling, pigmentation, eczema, spider veins, rope like varicose veins, scars, and active and healed venous ulcers.
These signs and symptoms can
1.) interfere with your life style, work, and ability to enjoy life and
2.) affect your body image and self confidence.
Veins that become dilated from the disease become less effective if they are needed in the use of coronary artery replacement (cardiac bypass surgery.)
3. Why should I consider treatment?
Treatment can relieve your pain, return you to an active fulfilling lifestyle, and improve your body image and confidence with an improved appearance.
4. How do I know if I need treatment?
Tests are needed to confirm the exact nature of the problem. Testing typically includes, but may not be limited to a consultation and physical examination with your physician, and a venous imaging duplex ultrasound examination.
5. What are my treatment options?
If tests confirm varicose disease, several choices of management can be considered. A few are...
1.) Changes in lifestyle (education,exercise, ankle flexion, avoiding high heels, leg elevation)
2.) Compression Therapy (using support hose)
3.) Sclerotherapy (use of chemicals to destroy the diseased vein)
4.) Ambulatory Phlebectomy (surgery)
5.) Ligation and Stripping
6.) Endovenous Laser Ablation (new laser treatment with little to no downtime for recovery)
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171 Town Center Drive, Anniston, Alabama 36205 • Lewis E. Sellers MD
Content on this website is not considered medical advice. Please see a physician before making any medical or lifestyle changes.
Specific Endovenous Laser Ablation Procedure Questions:
1. What is superficial venous reflux?
A condition that develops when the valves that usually help bood flow upward towards the heart become damaged and diseased, and causes blood to pool in you legs.
2. What are the common symptoms of superficial venous reflux?
3.) Leg heaviness and fatigue
4.) Varicose veins
5.) Spider veins
6.) Active or Healed Ulcers on the legs
3. What is the Endovenous Laser Ablation procedure?
A minimally invasive laser treatment for superficial venous reflux.
4. How does it work to treat superficial venous reflux?
A thin catheter is inserted into the vein through a small incision in the skin. The catheter delivers laser energy to the vein wall, causing it to heat, collapse and seal shut.
Once the diseased vein is closed, other healthy veins take over and empty blood from your legs.
5. How is Endovenous Laser Ablation procedure different from vein stripping?
During a stripping procedure, the surgeon makes an incision in the groin and ties off the saphenous vein. The saphenous vein is secured to the top of the stripper tool and the tool is then threaded through the vein towards the knee. A second incision is made just below the knee and the bottom end of the stripper is pulled out along with the saphenous vein.
With the Endovenous Laser Ablation procedure, there is no need for vein stripping surgery. Instead, the saphenous vein stays in place and is treated using Endovenous Laser Ablation catheter is inserted through a small puncture in the knee area. This virtually eliminates the pain and bruising associated with stripping when side branch vein tear while saphenous vein is being removed.
Vein stripping is usually preformed in an operating room under general anesthetic, while the laser procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis typically using logical or regional anesthesia.
Four randomized trials of the Endovenous Laser Ablation procedure vs. Stripping, including the most recent multicenter comparative, show very consistent results
-Fewer adverse events
-Faster return to normal activities
-Faster return to work
-Less post-operative pain during the first week
-Fewer limitations on performing daily or strenuous activity
6. How long does the Endovenous Laser Ablation procedure take?
Approximately 45-60 minutes. Patients normally spend 2-3 hours at the medical facility due to normal pre and post-treatment procedures.
7. Is the Endovenous Laser Ablation painful?
Patients report feeling little, if any, pain during and after the Endovenous Laser Ablation procedure.
8. Will the procedure require anesthesia?
The Endovenous Laser Ablation procedure can be performed under general, local, or regional anesthesia.
9. How quickly after the treatment can I return to normal activity?
Many patients can resume normal activities within a day.
For a few weeks following the treatment, your doctor may recommend a regular walking regimen and suggest you refrain from strenuous activities (heavy lifting, for example) or prolonged periods of standing.
10. How soon after treatment will my symptoms improve?
Most patients report a noticeable improvement in their symptoms within 1-2 weeks following the procedure.
11. Is there any scarring, bruising, swelling after the Endovenous Laser Ablation procedure?
Patients report minimal to no scarring, bruising or swelling following the Endovenous Laser Ablation procedure.
12. Are there any potential risks and compilation associated with the Endovenous Laser Ablation Procedure?
As with any medical intervention, potential risks and complications exist with the Endovenous Laser Ablation. Your physician will review potential complications of the laser ablation procedure at the consultation.
Potential complications can include but are not limited to:
-Thrombophlebitis (reddened, warm skin caused by blood clot in the vein)
-Thrombus extension (blood clot that sticks into the deeper vein from the treated veins)
-Deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in one of the veins deeper in the leg muscle)
-Parethesia (numbness or tingling in the legs)
-Perforation (hole through the wall of the vein)
-Edema (swelling resulting from the procedure)
-Hematoma (collection of blood under the skin)
-Pulmonary embolism (blood clot that travels into the arteries of the lung)
13. Is the Endovenous Laser Ablation procedure suitable for everyone?
Only a physician can advise if the Endovenous Laser Ablation procedure is a viable option for your vein problem
Experience has shown that the majority of patients with superficial venous reflux disease can be treated effectively with the Endovenous Laser Ablation procedure.
14. Is age important consideration for the Endovenous Laser Ablation procedure?
Age alone is not a factor in determining whether or not the procedure is appropriate for you. The Endovenous Laser Ablation procedure has been used to treat patients across a wide range of ages.
The most important step in determining whether or not the laser procedure is appropriate for you is a complete ultrasound examination by your physician or qualified clinician.
15. How effective is the Endovenous Laser Ablation?
Published data suggests that two years after treatment, 90% of the treated veins remain closed and free from reflux, the underlying cause of varicose veins.
98% of patients who have undergone the Endovenous Laser Ablation are willing to recommend it to a friend or family member with similar leg vein problems.
16. What happens to the treated vein left behind in the leg after the procedure?
1.) The vein becomes fibrous tissue after treatment.
2.) Over time, the body may re-absorb this fibrous tissue.
3.) One study reported that the treated vein is indistinguishable from other body tissue one year after the Laser Ablation is performed.
17. Is the Endovenous Laser Ablation treatment covered by my insurance?
Most insurance companies determine coverage for all treatments, including the Endovenous Laser Ablation based on medical necessity.
The Endovenous Laser Ablation is covered by many major health insurers.
Your physician can discuss your insurance coverage further at the time of consultation.