What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are a form of vein where blood has permanently pooled. This is due to several reasons. They appear most commonly in the legs but can occur in other parts of the body. Essentially, the blood passing through the veins from the extremities back toward the heart must work against the force of gravity. These veins contain one-way valves that aid in this process. However, the valves can degrade over time, meaning the blood stays where it is in the veins, causing them to swell. They are non-functioning veins filled with unmoving blood. They are usually not a threat to one’s health, though they can be painful and very unsightly. For this reason, some people choose to undergo surgery to correct them. There are dozens of forms of surgical corrections.
How Does Endovenous Ablation of Varicose Veins Work?
An ultrasound monitor like the kind used to look at fa fetus in the womb is used to visualize the full extent of the varicose veins. Topical anesthetic is applied to the area to be ablated to numb it. The top of the vein is nicked open, and a catheter is inserted to keep the vein open. A tiny laser on a thin wire is inserted through the catheter down the length of the vein. The laser generates heat and burns the interior of the vein as it is retracted. This causes the vein to scar, tightening the vein and making it shrink down to be indiscernible through the skin. The vein’s valve is still non-functional; however, the vein will no longer swell. Also, any pain associated with that swelling would cease as well.
What are the Benefits and Risks of This Procedure?
The benefits of endovenous ablation over other forms of varicose vein correction surgery are numerous. The point of entry is tiny and usually causes no scarring. The procedure is less painful and traumatic to the body, meaning the recovery time can be measured in hours. The chances of subdermal bruising and burst capillaries are negligible as well. Though there is some pain and tenderness, as well as slight bruising around the point of catheter entry, this is overall the least dangerous of varicose vein treatment methods. It should be said that, regardless of the procedure, any time the skin is broken there is a chance of infection. To that end, endovenous ablation is no different.