I blogged awhile back about spider veins and possible treatments, and our Web site lit up! It got me thinking about other things we do in medicine for leg veins. Varicose veins popped (not literally!) to mind. Right about that time, we had Dr. Joseph Hewitt, an interventional radiologist, on our show. He performed the VenaCure procedure. This new, endovenous (that means from inside the vein) laser sends pulses from inside the vein wall shooting outward. This makes the lining of the vein sort of sticky, so the walls stick to one another and the vein collapses shut.
No blood in the vein equals no varicosity -- it's just plain gone. Some scar tissue forms inside the vein but it will never show. The blood that would have pooled, or sat, in that slow-moving vein is now diverted to working veins, where it can do some good. And the pain is improved!
Are spider veins just little varicose veins? Not really. Lot's of people who have varicose veins also have spider veins but one does not cause the other. I believe that most women, with their thinner skin, are destined to get some spider veins. Spider veins are more common than varicose veins and not usually painful. The treatment is different too. We go after spider veins with sclerotherapy (injections) and intense pulse light therapy (like a laser). Success rates of treatment are very high, but not 100 percent.
The good thing is, all the treatments I have described above require only local anesthesia and promise a fast recovery. So, if you have a vein problem, you don't have to live with it!
Dr. Drew Ordon
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