Varicose veins can be treated a number of ways. The first treatments are non-invasive. They include compression socks, elevating the legs and other methods to prevent blood pooling in the extremities. Injecting the vein with a substance that makes it shrink and disappear helps in mild cases. This procedure forces the body to route blood through other healthy veins. Laser surgery can be tried in these cases, but it is less effective than sclerotherapy. The next step would be ablation with a catheter carrying lasers, heat or radio frequency waves to destroy and close the vein. However, this often isn’t enough. Then the best solution is varicose vein removal. Here’s your guide to understanding varicose vein removal.
An Overview of Surgical Removal
The surgical removal of varicose veins is a surgical procedure. It is sometimes called “stripping”. Unlike sclerotherapy or basic laser treatment, it isn’t an outpatient procedure you can walk home from. It is a surgical procedure that is best done by a qualified vein surgeon. The surgery should be done by a vascular surgeon with experience treating varicose veins. Consult with an experienced and qualified vascular surgeon to understand all of your treatment options. This gives you the chance to ask detailed questions and verify that surgery is the best treatment in your particular case. Good doctors will ask about the health conditions you have and the medications you are taking.
If you opt for surgical removal of varicose veins, know that the procedure will be done under general anesthesia. This will make you drowsy. It will render you unable to drive home. Plan on someone else taking you home after the procedure. There are other risks from vein removal surgery. Some are true no matter what surgery you have done such as a reaction to the anesthesia or infection at the incision site. Bleeding at the surgical site is also a risk. Always inform the doctor when you’re taking anticoagulants. They may ask you to stop taking these medications before the procedure to minimize the risk of surgical complications.
The Long-Term Impact of Varicose Vein Removal
Removal of a varicose vein will treat what is called venous insufficiency. The symptoms include swelling in the legs or ankles, a tight feeling in the legs, pain when you walk, discolored skin in the affected areas, and obvious varicose veins. Other symptoms include pain and itching in the affected area. Once healthy circulation is restored, these symptoms should abate. For example, leg ulcers that wouldn’t heal should start to close once the area gets healthy blood flow. However, surgical removal of a varicose vein won’t prevent other veins from becoming varicose. Nor does it resolve underlying health problems that contributed to varicose veins and circulatory issues, including but not limited to diabetes and high blood pressure.
Factors to Consider Before Scheduling Varicose Vein Removal
If you are suffering from symptoms like impaired mobility due to poor circulation in your legs, talk to your insurance company. Also discuss long-term health problems your doctor is concerned about like blood clots. Both of these situations may result in the insurance company covering the procedure in part or in full. Conversely, they are unlikely to treat the procedure if it is done for purely cosmetic reasons.