What are the Non-Surgical Treatments For Varicose Veins?

April 6, 2021
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April 6, 2021 The Vein Institute

When varicose veins cause aches, itchiness and unpleasant swollen bulges, it’s good to find ways to manage and treat the condition. And where before in-hospital vein stripping was the only solution, modern technology is much more advanced and lets us offer several non-surgical treatments for varicose veins.

What are varicose veins?

 

First, a little refresher. Varicose veins are bulging, twisted veins that are dark blue or purple in colour. You’ll typically find them in the legs, though they can form anywhere where there’s venous insufficiency. 

They form when the veins responsible for running blood to the heart strain and stretch too much from the effort. So when they develop, they’re always a symptom, not the underlying issue. 

So, what are the non-surgical treatments for varicose veins?

Let’s start with some of the common and effective medical treatment options. 

Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy is a treatment we use for small, uncomplicated varicose veins. Basically, it involves injecting a sclerosant into the problem vein through a needle. The sclerosant seals off the varicose vein by agitating the vein walls, causing your body to reroute your blood flow through healthy veins. The sealed vein hardens, and your body will reabsorb it within a couple of weeks.

We’ll typically combine sclerotherapy with Endovenous Laser Ablation to ensure the best results.

Endovenous Laser Ablation

Endovenous Laser Ablation (AKA ELA) is pretty much what it says on the tin. For ELA, we use a special laser to heat and clot the problem vein, stopping blood from flowing through it. Unlike sclerotherapy alone, we can use ELA on larger, more complex varicose veins.

ClariVein

Like sclerotherapy, ClariVein is a non-thermal, non-surgical varicose vein treatment in which we inject a sclerosant. ClariVein itself is a special infusion catheter with a needle-fine tip that can rotate 360 degrees. The catheter’s flexibility and ability to penetrate vein walls lets the sclerosant travel deeper into the vein, resulting in more effective treatment. 

Radiofrequency Ablation

Similarly to ELA, Radiofrequency Ablation (AKA RFA) involves a catheter and a heat source. But unlike ELA, this procedure doesn’t clot the blood. Instead, we target the collagen in the vein wall, causing it to shrink. And as a result, blood flow through that varicose vein stops. 

Medical Superglue

Yep, along with clotting, agitating, and shrinking, we can also ‘glue’ the varicose vein shut. We’ll inject a tiny bit of VenaBlock, VenaSeal, or VeinOFF directly into the point where the varicose vein meets the healthy vein. 

All these treatment options are minimally invasive and performed under local anaesthetic.

How do I know which varicose vein treatment is right for me?

We’ll start you off with a consultation with one of our specialists. During the consultation, we’ll review your medical history and perform a physical exam to diagnose your condition. 

Next, we do a venous ultrasound to assess your veins. This procedure is crucial because it tells us if the veins are functioning normally or if the blood is flowing in the wrong direction or pooling – a condition known as reflux. The scan can also reveal hidden varicose veins and detect the formation of new blood clots (deep vein thrombosis) or damage from untreated blood clots.

Based on this information, we then create a custom treatment plan best suited to the needs of your veins. 

What should I be doing after the treatment?

Even though the treatments are minimally invasive and generally won’t cause too much discomfort, there are still a few steps you’ll need to take to ensure the treatment site heals properly. And to minimise your chances of needing further varicose vein treatments. 

Based on your vein condition, these may include: 

  • Wearing compression stockings
  • Changing your diet 
  • Elevating your legs
  • Going on daily 30 minute walks 
  • Avoiding strenuous exercise, swimming, and certain pain medications for a couple of weeks following the procedure
  • And making sure the injection site is clean and dry while your skin is still healing

You can learn more about these steps and other post-op precautions here.

Are there any non-medical treatment options?

Unfortunately, there aren’t any non-medical varicose vein ‘treatments.’ But there are ways you can minimise symptoms (and lower your chances of getting them to begin with!)

Similarly to varicose vein treatment post-op steps, these include: 

  • Wearing compression stockings (though not constantly. You should mainly wear them on long-haul flights and during strenuous exercise like jogging or weightlifting). 
  • Changing your diet
  • Not sitting or standing for long periods 
  • Keeping active

Learn more about managing varicose veins here.

Our goal is always to keep you well infrared and determine the best solution for you.

So if you have any more questions on non-surgical treatment options or non-medical symptom management, don’t hesitate to contact us at 1300 535 017.