In the past, varicose veins were traditionally treated by a surgical procedure known as “vein stripping,” in which the veins were removed via surgical incisions while the patient was under general anesthesia. This was usually done at the hospital or surgery center.
Thanks to advancements in medical treatment and technology, this is no longer the standard way of treating varicose veins. Instead, much less invasive and painful methods are now preferred by most providers and patients.
Varicose Vein Treatments Are Less Painful Than You Might Think
For some patients, varicose veins do not cause any symptoms and the veins are simply a cosmetic concern. In most cases, however, varicose veins cause aching pain, swelling and discomfort.
This signals an underlying circulatory problem which might benefit from a more formal medical evaluation by a vein expert to discuss treatment options. The severity of your varicose veins will have the most significant impact on which treatment is right for you, and how that treatment proceeds.
Radiofrequency Ablation for Varicose Veins
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) treatment, known as Closurefast, uses a specialized catheter to direct gentle heat into the interior of the diseased vein causing the varicose veins after a local anesthetic. This is usually the greater saphenous vein. This heat closes off the affected vein while allowing nearby veins that are healthy to continue maintaining blood flow. Any surface-level veins that are connected to the treated vein may also shrink on their own. If not, they can be treated with sclerotherapy afterward if necessary.
What Are Foam Sclerotherapy Injection Vein Treatments?
Foam sclerotherapy injection treatment uses an FDA approved chemical foam to irritate and close off affected veins. The injection is administered to the affected vein(s), which causes them to shrivel up and fade away. The surrounding healthy veins will continue to provide circulation just as they do with radiofrequency ablation. Injections usually must be administered in multiple separate sessions. This depends on how many veins need to be treated. Your vein doctor can help assess how many sessions will be needed in your case.
This treatment doesn’t require anesthesia. Foam sclerotherapy is often used as an adjunct to saphenous vein treatment with RFA or VenaSeal. Its a great option to treat branch veins, like the veins that can be seen on the surface.
What is Venaseal (Medical Grade Glue)?
Medical grade glue, known as VenaSeal, involves using a specially formulated medical adhesive that is safe for vein procedures. It is used to seal off the connections between healthy veins and diseased veins, ultimately rerouting the blood into healthy veins and providing symptom relief. This is an alternative to Closurefast RFA. They are usually not both done at the same time. Your vein doctor will be able to tell you if this is an ideal treatment depending on the condition of your veins.
Which One Is Less Painful?
Compared to vein stripping, both Closurefast RFA and VenaSeal are better tolerated by patients in treatment sessions. The vein treatment option that is suitable for your condition depends on the type of veins that need to be treated.
Foam injection simply isn’t suitable for larger varicose veins, which typically require RFA ablation or Venaseal of the saphenous vein prior. But the foam sclerotherapy can be done as an adjunct to treat the branch veins at the same time or in a subsequent treatment session.
In either case, mitigation measures are available to help relieve any discomfort you might experience and make the treatment less painful. If you’re concerned about discomfort, talk with your physician and they’ll help you manage the treatment well.
More About Vein Treatment Options
If you have varicose veins that might benefit from treatment, or if you are interested in learning more about the treatment options, please fill out our Online Appointment Request Form or call any of our clinics in Northwest Portland , Tigard, Happy Valley, Hillsboro or Bend, Oregon.