Compression stockings allow you to manage varicose veins without having to go to a surgeon. But they are not suitable for everyone and they do not correct the underlying problem. Your surgeon may recommend a minimally invasive procedure such as endothermal ablation to treat the leaky veins.
In most cases, your doctor or surgeon will recommend endothermal ablation for treating leaky veins. The procedure involves the use of:
- energy from lasers (endovenous laser treatment) or
- high-frequency radio waves (radiofrequency ablation) to seal the leaky veins.
Here’s what to expect:
- Radiofrequency ablation – The surgeon makes a tiny incision on the lowest point of the leaky vein, inserts a thin tube into the affected area using an ultrasound scan, and then inserts a catheter into that narrow tube. The catheter sends radiofrequency energy to heat the vein. This causes the walls to collapse and close and seal the vein shut. After this, blood is naturally redirected to other healthy veins.
- Endovenous laser treatment – The procedure is similar to RF ablation, except that a laser catheter is inserted in the vein. It is then slowly guided downwards as it emits laser energy to seal the vein.
Both procedures are performed under local anesthesia.
If you are not a good candidate for endothermal ablation treatment, your doctor may recommend sclerotherapy. Here, the surgeon injects special foam into the veins to initiate scarring and sealing. The results take a few weeks to show, and you may need multiple treatments if the veins reappear.
Ligation and Stripping
If none of the other treatments are suitable for you, then a surgical procedure known as vein ligation and stripping may be your only option to remove the affected veins.