Varicose veins are a common problem with multiple causes. About half of all women over 50 will develop them in their legs, and many develop them much younger. The twisted blue bulges can be embarrassing and many sufferers complain that they can't wear shorts or skirts as they try to hide their condition. Now there is a treatment from AngioDynamics, the VenaCure EVLT System.
Varicose veins develop when a valve in the superficial veins becomes weakened and blood is not able to flow easily, causing it to pool there. The veins become filled and bulging. Recently featured on The Doctors, this treatment uses a minimally invasive endovenous laser and requires no general anesthesia. The EVLT laser delivers a precise dose of energy into the vein wall, collapsing it, and the blood flow is diverted to nearby functioning veins. Thanks to this endovenous thermal ablation treatment, the surface appearance of the vein is improved and circulation is significantly increased.
Dr. John Hewett of Pacific Interventionalists of Newport Beach, CA, performed the procedure with the new NeverTouch laser fiber which is distinctive because of the gold tip or jacket that serves as a buffer between the end of the fiber and vein walls. This buffer protects the patient from accidental vein perforation and increases the tip's visibility for the doctor under ultrasound. In addition to the gold tip, the end of the NeverTouch fiber is covered with a glass tube - or ferrule -that diffuses the energy delivered by 56 percent, so it is less likely to cut the vein and will seal it as intended. Bruising and pain are minimal.
There are also non-surgical options for treating the small varicose veins known as spider veins. The Asclera injection treatment was recently granted FDA approval for the treatment of spider veins (tiny varicose veins less than 1 millimeter in diameter) and reticular veins (those that are 1 to 3 millimeters in diameter) in the lower extremities. Asclera damages the cell lining of the veins causing the blood vessel to close, and it is eventually replaced by other types of tissue.
Common adverse reactions to Asclera include leakage and collection of blood from damaged blood vessels at the injection site (hematoma), bruising, irritation, discoloration, and pain at the injection site.