The first step in successfully treating any vein condition is finding a physician with the experience and expertise in phlebology, the field of medicine dealing with disorders of the venous system. LaserMed’s Dr. Jean Chapman is board certified by the American College of Phlebology. After conducting a complete physical examination of the condition Dr. Chapman will recommend one of the following treatments.
Sclerotherapy means that a chemical solution (sclerosing agent) is injected into the malfunctioning vein which irritates the vein lining causing it to collapse and disappear. The use of duplex ultrasound in this procedure allows the doctor to examine the internal structure of the greater saphenous vein (the main superficial vein of the leg hidden from view) that causes the visible, bulging varicosities. Dr. Chapman then knows precisely where to inject the sclerosing agent to resolve the condition. In experienced hands this procedure is highly effective, very safe and painless.
This technology represents the most recent advancements in treating varicose veins. In this procedure a thin, spaghetti like, laser fiber is inserted through a tiny incision in the vein. With the use of duplex ultrasound, the fiber is guided to the diseased part of the vein where laser energy is applied to shut down the diseased portion. This procedure is minimally invasive, can be performed in the LaserMed Skin & Vein Clinic offices by Dr. Chapman and produces excellent results.
Dr. Chapman uses Cooltouch CTEV device which emits 1320nm wavelength laser beams and heat the water content in the vein walls rather than blood cells. Other devices that have shorter wavelength heat too much heating of the blood cells and caused severe brusing and discomfort as well as longer healing time.
Is it painful?
For vein patients there are a number of different treatments the doctor may choose to administer depending upon the condition. In most cases the area being treated is anesthetized so that patients experience little if any pain.
How long after the treatment will it take for the spider veins or varicose veins to clear?
It depends on the degree of the condition. Spider or flat blue veins will require 1-2 treatments with injection therapy but may need more with laser. Usually patients will see the veins disappear during the procedure. In many cases the treated area will then bruise. This bruising will resolve in 5-7 days and mild brownish pigments will settle in the treated area only to disappear with time. Patients with larger varicose veins will see the treated veins harden before they get softer and disappear. These varicose veins need 1-2 treatment with injection therapy for total resolution.
Are there any special instructions I need to follow after treatment for leg veins?
It’s a good idea to stay active and take a brisk walk on the day of treatment. Patients are also advised not to take a hot bath, sauna, or do any tanning, which may dilate the treated veins making the treatment less effective. While this isn’t completely necessary it tends to help the healing process. We also recommend patients wear compression hose on the treated leg for a period of about 1 week after treatment. In many cases a topical vitamin K or Arnica cream will be prescribed to help minimize any bruising.
How long do I have to wait between procedures?
In most cases patients may schedule treatment sessions as close as 1 week apart. But waiting more than 4 weeks in between procedures is not recommended. Since the procedure is very tolerable, it is common to treat all the spider, blue, or varicose veins in one sitting as long as the recommended maximum dosage of injected medication is not exceeded. Patients may need to wait until the brownish discoloration clears enough for the follow up treatments if a laser is to be used as well.
Is the treatment safe?
Yes, the treatment is very safe. Injection therapy is done with a medication called Sotradecol (sodium tetradecyl sulfate) that is FDA-approved for this purpose. Laser treatments use a 1064 nm wavelength laser beam, which is also FDA-approved. In some cases patients might notice a slight bruising to the treated area, but this condition will resolve itself in 5-7 days.
Do these treated veins come back?
No. However leg veins are generally due to lifestyle, genetics or medical conditions, which will likely predispose you to have veins appear in other areas of the legs, over time, requiring further treatments.
What can I do to prevent these veins?
It is hard to prevent these altogether, but regular exercise and wearing compression stockings seem to help.
How much does it cost?
Charges are based upon the size of the area to be treated, the procedures performed and the number of treatment sessions required. Most leg spider and varicose veins can be treated in 1-4 sessions starting at $325 per treatment. More severe cases of varicose veins that require the EVLT procedure or ultrasound guided sclerotherapy are more expensive, however, most insurance companies including Medicare often cover these procedures. LaserMed Skin & Vein Clinic also offers Care Credit Patient Payment plans.