The staff and physicians at VVS are trained in many diagnostic techniques and treatment procedures to serve our patients. Below is a list of the more common procedures performed at VVS:
Sound waves are guided in the area of interest to visualize the tissues including veins. Ultrasound can be used to tell if a vein is flowing in the wrong direction. It can also be used to safely guide a needle into place during a procedure. Because there is no radiation, this is especially safe for children and pregnant women.
With or without ultrasound-guidance, a federal drug administration (FDA)-approved medication is injected into a spider vein or varicose vein using a small intravenous needle. This causes scaring of the vein. The body eventually will re-absorb the scarred-down tissue causing the vein to disappear.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)
RFA is an outpatient procedure that does not require any downtime and is paid for by most insurance companies. It is performed to eliminate varicose veins in your legs. A small sterile catheter (like a hollow piece of spaghetti) is inserted into the vein. The tip of the catheter heats up to a high temperature and causes the proteins in the vein wall to denature or ‘melt’. This causes the vein to scar and close and blood is then re-routed to normal veins back to the heart. Here at VVS we use the VNUS closure catheter.
Ambulatory phlebectomy is a procedure utilizing anesthetic medication in the skin and around veins. A small incision is made and a varicose vein is then removed through the tiny incision. Blood is then naturally re-routed back to the heart in a more normal pathway.
Endovenous laser therapy is similar to RFA. However, a laser is used to ‘melt’ the proteins on the inside of the vein wall instead of heat. This is currently not performed at VVS, but ask our radiologists about the procedure including the pros and cons.
Using fluoroscopy, a special type of low dose continuous xray, a sterile catheter (like a hollow piece of spaghetti) is inserted into a vein. Through the catheter material is injected into the abnormal area which causes blockage of the vessel (usually a vein).
This is a surgical method to remove some deep abnormal veins. Although a commonly performed procedure in the past, it is somewhat invasive. This is not currently peformed by the physicians at VVS, but your staff at VVS are knowledgeable about the procedure and can answer questions and discuss the pros and cons.
Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (PCS) is caused by varicose veins in the pelvis. Symptoms of PCS include dull, aching, chronic pain. The pain will often increase after intercourse, during menstrual periods, when tired or when standing and when pregnant. Pelvic Vein Congestion can be treated by Ovarian Vein Embolization. Up to 15 percent of women, between the ages of 20 and 50, have varicose veins in the pelvis though not all experience symptoms.
A varicocele vein is an enlarged vein in a man’s scrotum that can cause pain, swelling and infertility.
Dilated/swollen/stretched veins that do not perform normally to take blood back to the heart. Sometimes they are visible and sometimes they can only be seen with ultrasound. They may cause symptoms of pain, swelling or heaviness in the legs. They could be a sign of a more serious underlying problem called venous reflux or venous stasis disease. They are caused by a variety of things such as hormones (more common in women), smoking, jobs/activities requiring long periods of standing, or may be genetic.
These are very tiny reddish or purplish veins seen on the skin. They are considered cosmetic and not generally medically harmful, but can be unsightly. Ask our staff about treatment options.
Venous reflux or stasis
Using your history, a physical exam and ultrasound we can diagnose this problem. It may causes heaviness, pain, swelling, or aching in the legs. Symptoms are usually worse after prolonged standing or at the end of the day. It results from abnormal blood flow in the veins away from the heart instead of towards the heart. It can eventually cause serious problems if left untreated such as ulcers. Ask our staff if you have any of these symptoms or you have ulcers or are concerned about varicose veins.
DVT/Deep Vein Thrombus
This is potentially a very serious condition when a blood clot forms in the main veins in the legs or arms that take blood directly back to the heart. Symptoms include, painful, swollen, or redness in the arms or legs.
This is an inflammation of the veins that INDIRECTLY take blood back to the heart. Although this may not cause an immediate serious health threat, it can be a symptom of a more serious underlying problem. As your health profession if you are concerned about having this condition as DVT and superficial thrombophlebitis can present similarly.
Venous stasis ulcers
Non-healing or recurring wounds which may or may not be painful which are usually in the lower legs, that result from underlyling abnormal veins which flow in an abnormal direction. They can become infected and in extreme cases it can lead to bone infection and necessitate amputation. Seek a health professional if you believe you have a non-healing or recurring ulcer/wound.
PREVENTION OF VEIN DISEASE
Special socks or stockings which provide pressure on the legs to help the blood flow in the proper direction. When used during long periods of standing or sitting, it slows progression of vein disease or prevent new veins from forming.
Elevating your legs can help return blood back to the heart in the proper direction.
Exercise and Weight Control
Exercise helps the muscles grow and help to bring the blood back to the heart in the proper direction. Weight loss also can help blood flow to the heart in the proper direction.
“Do I have abnormal veins that can be treated?” If you believe or are worried that you may suffer from vein disease, please call/stop in for a quick, non-invasive free screening. After the short ultrasound procedure, you may choose to schedule a consultation with one of our physician vein specialists.