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Category: Sclerotherapy

Keep the Spiders off Your Legs this Halloween

Trick or treat, everyone! Is your front porch decked out with ghosts, goblins, cobwebs and pumpkins? Is your yard lined with bones and gravestones? If so, we applaud your Halloween spirit!

But what about your legs? Are spider veins making them look more like a Halloween costume than you’d like? That’s the kind of creepy look we’re guessing you don’t want to show off this holiday season. But don’t worry: you’re not alone.

Spider Veins a major problem for Americans

Data suggests that as many as 60% of adults in this country have spider or varicose veins. Spider veins are tiny, dilated veins that are visible on the surface of your skin. When you look for them, they are red or blue, and are typically found on your legs or face. They may form in patterns that look like spider webs, and they are very visible because they are closer to the skin than normal veins. On the other hand, varicose veins, while similar and often confused with spider veins, are much larger and look like bulging or twisting rope.

Spider veins are, for the most part, a cosmetic concern. Treating them is important for self-esteem, and to prevent the progression of any underlying vein condition. But varicose veins are a more serious symptom. Treating them will be important for your ongoing, overall vein health.

How do you treat spider and varicose veins?

At our Houston area vein clinics, we treat spider veins with sclerotherapy, the most common form of treatment for this condition. The process involves injecting you with a solution that will cause the lining of your blood vessel to collapse and stick together. The blood then begins to clot, and the vessel turns to scar tissue over time. This makes the veins invisible from the surface of your skin.

In some instances, we may seal your spider veins with a catheter or laser. In these cases, heat is used to seal the vein. This also results in scar tissue formation, which will gradually become less noticeable over time.

If you are spooked by your spider veins right now, don’t wait until next Halloween to do something about it. Instead, treat yourself (and your veins) so you can show off those legs with pride in any costume of your choosing!

Do I Need Surgery to Fix my Varicose Veins?

When you have bulging, painful varicose veins, you want them gone. And you are likely wondering what treatment option will deliver you fast relief with few complications. As it turns out, researchers in the UK wondered the same thing. That’s why they conducted a study, comparing the results of surgical and non-surgical varicose vein treatments. And we’re guessing you’ll be pleased by what they discovered!

Surgical vs. Interventional Varicose Vein Treatments spider veins on legs

The CLASS (Comparison of Laser, Surgery and Foam Sclerotherapy) study look at two non-surgical treatments we provide in our Houston area vein clinics: Foam Sclerotherapy and Laser Ablation. It compared their long-term results with surgery. With sclerotherapy, we inject your abnormal vein with a substance that gradually causes its collapse. With ablation, we use bursts of laser light to collapse your vein. Both are minimally invasive procedures.

For this study, researchers followed 800 varicose vein patients treated between 2008 and 2012. At the end of five years, patients  answered questions about their quality of life, the financial cost and their willingness to recommend the treatment to others.

Almost all of participants were happy with their results. Nearly all participants reported feeling better after treatment. And most participants would undergo and recommend the same treatment again.

Researchers also discovered that ablation and surgery delivered slightly better results than sclerotherapy. They found ablation was the most cost-effective option. And, though it wasn’t mentioned in the study, here’s something vein specialists know: sclerotherapy and ablation come with less down time and fewer complications than surgery.

With these findings, the study—and our blog post—gets a happy ending. Even though many people get varicose vein surgery, you don’t have to. And that’s because non-surgical treatments deliver great results: at a lower cost and, typically, without hospital stays!

Sources: The New England Journal of Medicine

This New Study is the Reason You Must Treat Vein Reflux

When your circulatory system is working properly, your veins bring blood back up to your heart from your lower extremities. Along the way, little flaps (called valves) help the blood flow against gravity by closing up as the blood travels past them. But sometimes, those valves stop doing their jobs well. And that’s when venous reflux can set in: some of the blood that’s supposed to travel up and away from your legs gets stuck there, pooling and causing your  veins to darken, stretch and bulge. woman with spider veins on thigh

At that stage of reflux, you may start to notice visible symptoms, like varicose veins. For many people, varicose veins are just a cosmetic concern. But in reality, these unsightly veins can cause serious medical problems. And one new Polish study, presented recently at the European Venous Forum, shows just how important it is to treat even minor cases of venous reflux.

Venous Reflux Linked to Ulcers

The purpose of the study was to explore the effectiveness of different treatment methods for ulcers (hard to heal wounds that often develop on the legs of people with insufficient blood flow in their legs.)

Study author Aleksandra Jaworucka-Kaczorowska discovered that 85% of the ulcer patients she met with also had superficial venous reflux. Furthermore, she found that by treating their reflux with sclerotherapy, a treatment we offer in our Houston area vein clinics, patients’ venous reflux vastly improved and their ulcers healed at a faster rate!

Sclerotherapy is a great treatment option for veins that don’t show signs of serious vein disease.

spider vein treatment in houston tx

During the  procedure, we will inject a solution into your affected vein, making it shrink and close so that blood flow will be redirected through your other, healthier veins. After this process, your vein will eventually shrink and disappear from view on the surface of your skin.

Before performing sclerotherapy, your vein doctor will conduct a thorough examination and review your history to make sure that your vein issue isn’t a sign of a more serious underlying health issue. But if you are a good candidate for sclerotherapy, it is a fast, minimally invasive treatment that requires no sedation or anesthesia. Most patients can return to work or other activities quickly. It may require more than one session to completely treat your spider veins. But since you’ll enjoy a cosmetic benefit and contribute to the fight against leg ulcers, it’s a treatment option that is certainly worth considering!

Should I worry about my thread veins?

Thread veins are a very common condition that occurs when the small blood vessels that lie beneath your skin become dilated and visible.

Also known as ‘telangiectasia’, thread veins come in several different colors:  smalls ones are red, but they progress from purple to green as they get larger (more dilated.)

Thread veins are more common in older adults, but anyone can get them. And while some people with thread veins could also have varicose veins, not everyone will. Let’s explore more about this common vein condition.

Are Thread Veins a Sign of a Medical Condition? Reasons for a Vein Evaluation

89% of women with thread veins developed the condition because varicose veins were creating the dilation of their vessels.  And 40% of those women also have such a severe varicose vein problem that they will likely develop other medical problems in the future.

Because thread veins and varicose veins go hand-in-hand so often, anyone who has the former should be screened for the latter. In our Houston vein specialist office, we can screen you for varicose veins with a simple diagnostic ultrasound.

This type of screening will help determine whether your thread veins are a stand-alone problem or part of a larger issue.

Why Do Thread Veins Develop?

Most often, genetics predisposes you to developing thread veins. If your mom and grandma had them, chances are, you will too.

Other times, thread veins develop at the sight of a bruise or injury. This is a less common cause.

Can you prevent thread veins?

As mentioned, thread veins are often a genetic inheritance. But, since they are also tied to varicose veins, there are some measures you can take to help reduce the onset of these veins:

  1. Maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly: Inactivity and obesity have been linked to problems with varicose veins.
  1. Avoided extended periods of sitting: When you sit for a long time, you don’t use the muscles in your legs that are in charge of pumping blood back up to your heart. This can allow blood to fall back down your leg veins and pool, leading to swelling of the legs and bulging varicose veins.

How can I treat thread veins?

When it comes to getting rid of thread veins, over-the-counter creams don’t work. Sure, you can cover them up with makeup, but that’s clearly a temporary solution. If you really want to get rid of thread veins, you need to first clear up any underlying medical problems. Then, if you are still dealing with thread veins, you can treat them with microsclerotherapy, which involves injecting a highly diluted sclerosant solution into your veins with a teeny-tiny needle. This injection will permanently destroy your dilated blood vessels so they stop showing up beneath the skin.

 

If thread veins have been bothering you and you want to rule out a more serious medical issue, schedule an appointment with Dr. Fox or Dr. Hardee. We can screen you for other medical conditions and get you started on the treatment plan that’s best for your unique situation.

 

Sources: goodhousekeeping.com

Can glue cure varicose veins?

Varicose veins are often a symptom of venous insufficiency, a condition that can cause more serious health issues. They can be dangerous and unattractive. So treating these bulging, prominent veins is more than just a cosmetic decision: it’s imperative to your overall health.

Once you’ve decided to treat varicose veins, the question remains: what method will serve you best?

Procedures to get rid of varicose veins have come a long way, and, today, there are many different options available. At one time, patients with vein disease had very few treatment options. Some underwent a procedure commonly known as “vein stripping,” which was an inpatient surgery that required general anesthesia, hospital admission, and a long, painful recovery period during which patients had to take off time from work or school. Thankfully, those days are behind us! In our office we offer a range of minimally invasive treatments. One option we recently saw discussed in the press was medical glue, so we wanted to discuss the effectiveness of this treatment.

Medical Glue and Varicose Veins Reasons for a Vein Evaluation

As we mentioned before, varicose veins are a symptom of a blood flow problem. When your valves fail, that allows blood to flow backwards, instead of going against gravity and returning to your heart. As the blood sticks around your lower extremities, those veins in your legs get stretched, bulging and becoming visible through your skin.

That’s where a medical glue product called VenaSeal is introduced. Using a small catheter, the glue is inserted into your vein to stop your blood from flowing backwards into your legs. A local anesthetic is often used alongside the glue to prevent any pain. The glue basically stops up the faulty vein so it can’t continue to cause problems.

While VenaSeal can be effective, there are some factors that may impact its usefulness: the glue has to be inserted into just the right spot, or backflow may continue. Additionally, it has not yet been cleared for use in pregnant women, and long term safety studies are still in the works.

Sclerotherapy and Ablation for Varicose Veins

Looking for an alternative to VenaSeal? One good option is ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy. We use an ultrasound to access your varicose vein under your skin, using a very small needle. We mix a medication with carbon dioxide gas to create a foam that we inject directly into the abnormal vein, closing it permanently. This treatment is usually selected for veins that aren’t yet bulging.

For bulging varicose veins, radiofrequency vein ablation may be a better option. RFA is a minimally invasive procedure as well. To perform this treatment, we insert a catheter into your abnormal vein, supplying it with heat energy to close the vein permanently. RFA can be performed with just a local anesthetic. It is a virtually painless procedure that leaves virtually no scar. The procedure takes less than an hour to perform and patients can resume normal activities immediately afterwards.

Before proceeding with radiofrequency ablation, or any other varicose vein treatment, your Houston vein specialists will perform a thorough medical examination, including a diagnostic ultrasound evaluation, to determine whether the procedure is appropriate for you. To find out the best treatment option for your medical reality, schedule your consult today!

 

Sources: Expert Review of Medical Devices, abc27.com

 

How to Fight Varicose Veins in Cold Weather

Look out, Houston: there’s a freeze watch in effect for us for this evening. While cold weather is not something we need to worry about all that often in our area of Texas, it can be a real problem for individuals with varicose veins. Or for those people, like pregnant women, with a higher risk of developing them. Here’s why:

Cold Weather Affects Your Circulation
You know that song, “the weather outside is frightful?” Nothing inspires people to stay indoors, and stay sitting, like Cold Outsidea dip in temperature. It’s way too tempting to skip a trip to the gym when you could opt for reading a good book in your cozy bed, instead.

Unfortunately, exercise is very important for individuals with vein conditions like varicose veins. Staying sedentary worsens existing vein problems because your blood pools more and gets moved around your body even less than normal.

But that’s not the only reason cold weather is bad for your veins. Have you ever noticed that, when you’re cold, your toes and fingers start to change color? Maybe they look a little blue? That’s because the cold weather has affected your circulation, and less blood is reaching your extremities. Of course, this is uncomfortable for anyone stuck in the cold, but for people with vein problems, it can really exacerbate your condition.

How Cold Weather Can Help Varicose Veins

Thankfully, cold weather isn’t all bad for your veins. In fact, in some ways, cooler temperatures can be beneficial to your vein health! Unlike hot weather, that can leave your body sore and swollen, cold weather can actually cause your veins to constrict. For people with varicose veins, a condition that’s cause by pooling blood that contributes to swollen, bulging veins, this is a major positive. So take heart: your varicose veins may actually appear smaller in the cold. You may also experience fewer symptoms, like cramping and swelling, when it’s cold outside.

Of course, any weather-related symptom relief will disappear when temperatures come back up. Sadly, problems that are exacerbated by cold weather may not improve, even when it’s warm again.  In order to truly protect yourself from weather-related vein symptoms, your only option is to seek treatment for the underlying problem. At our Houston vein clinic, we are happy to offer diagnostic vein scans, so schedule your appointment today, before the chilly weather gets the best of you!