There have been major advancements over recent years in the management of varicose veins. Treatments now utilise minimally invasive techniques and are most often carried out under local anaesthetic as a day case procedure. This enables rapid recovery and early return to work.
Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) treatment
During this procedure a radio-frequency catheter (VNUS) is passed along the abnormal vein under ultrasound guidance. Local anaesthetic injections are then performed along the length of the catheter to surround the vein with fluid (tumescence solution) to isolate it from surrounding structures and to compress the vein onto the catheter.
The radio-frequency ablation catheter is then heated to treat the vein. As the catheter is withdrawn the vein will shrink along its length and close up. You may feel some pressure whilst the treatment is being carried out but you should not feel any pain. When the treatment is done, the catheter is removed. An elastic compression stocking or a bandage will then be put on your leg.
The procedure is carried out under local anaesthetic and for most patients it takes approximately 30-45 minutes for a single leg.
Ultrasound Guided Foam Sclerotherapy
Ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy offers an alternative to surgery in treating varicose veins. The procedure is carried out in less than one hour in the out-patient department.
The aim of ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy treatment is to damage the endothelial surface of the vein causing scarring and leading to closure of the treated varicose veins.
Sclerosant foam is injected into the affected veins using ultrasound guidance. The foam causes an inflammatory reaction in the vein wall, closing the vein.
More than 1 vein may be treated during the same session. If any vein is incompletely treated, further injections may be given in the same or subsequent sessions.
An elastic compression stocking or a bandage will be put on your leg at the end of the procedure.
Microsclerotherapy is a relatively simple non surgical treatment for thread veins. A small amount of solution is injected via a very fine needle into the vein, this causes the walls of the vein to stick together, sealing it off, and over a course of treatments the veins will disappear.
Sometimes clusters of veins communicate with each other and so one injection can seal many veins, but often each vein will have to be addressed with a single injection. Many thread veins can be injected in one session. More than one session may be required to gain the best results.
After treatment with sclerotherapy, thread veins generally disappear in three to six weeks, while varicose veins may take three to four months to respond.