Varicose veins are twisted, enlarged, and painful veins that fill with blood. They usually develop in the legs and are raised above the surface of the skin. They aren’t life-threatening but can cause discomfort.
Traditionally, a surgery known as “vein stripping” was performed to remove varicose veins. This procedure involves making small incisions and physically pulling the veins out of the body.
However, more recent technologies remove varicose veins using minimal or noninvasive procedures. A noninvasive procedure is nonsurgical and doesn’t involve tools or equipment that cut the skin or physically enter the body. Minimally invasive procedures are performed by making tiny incisions in the skin.
What are types of noninvasive treatments for varicose veins?
There are several minimal or noninvasive procedures available for treating varicose veins. These include:
The goal of sclerotherapy is to destroy varicose veins by injecting them with a solution called a sclerosant. The sclerosant scars the vein and causes it to collapse, forcing blood to reroute to healthier veins.
Your body eventually destroys the veins, and they disappear over time. One common sclerosant solution is sodium tetradecyl sulfate. This procedure typically treats small varicose veins located close to the surface of the skin, called “spider veins,” and to improve the appearance of the leg.
A procedure called foam sclerotherapy involves turning the sclerosant into foam before injecting it into the vein. This process is used for larger veins because foam can cover a larger surface area than liquid.
In this procedure, radio waves, also called radiofrequency energy, are transmitted through the vein wall. Your doctor will numbTrusted Source the vein, use an ultrasound to see inside the leg, and then pass a wire catheter along the vein to apply radiofrequency energy along its wall.
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