Varicose veins are swollen, enlarged veins that are clearly visible just under the surface of the skin. For some people, they cause pain, blood clots, or sores. This ailment usually occurs in the legs, but also can appear in other parts of the body.
Varicose veins are a common condition caused by problems with the valves within the veins. Veins have one-way valves that help keep blood flowing toward your heart. If the valves are weak or damaged, blood can back up and pool in your veins, which causes them to swell.
Many factors can raise your risk for developing varicose veins, including family history, older age, female gender, pregnancy, obesity, prolonged standing or sitting, blood clots and prior trauma.
Interventional radiologists are board-certified physicians who deliver minimally invasive treatments with less risk, less pain and less recovery time than traditional surgery to treat conditions that impact a person’s quality of life.
EVLT is a minimally invasive treatment that uses heat to close off problematic veins and relieve the symptoms they cause. Using imaging guidance (guided by x-ray images), the interventional radiologist threads a thin laser fiber into the problem vein through a tiny needle. Next, the radiologist numbs the length of the vein to minimize discomfort during the heating process. Finally, the laser heat causes the vein to close. Once the problem vein is closed, blood will flow through the remaining healthy veins. This is all accomplished while patients rest comfortably. Return to most normal daily activities is allowed immediately.
Radiofrequency ablation is a similar treatment, using a fiber that emits radiofrequency energy instead of a laser fiber.