Tag: interventional radiology

Check Out These 3 Minimally Invasive Vein Treatments

The doctors in our practice offer minimally invasive vein treatments. But, so often, we get asked about our medical specialty: what is an interventional radiologist? At the most basic level, it means we treat medical conditions such as spider veins  and peripheral arterial disease with minimally invasive techniques.

Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t know how to perform more invasive procedures. After all, the doctors at our Houston area vein clinics attended four years of medical school. Next, they completed four-year diagnostic radiology residencies and Interventional Radiology fellowships.

So, what’s the difference between our specialty and those of other doctors? Our goal as interventional radiologists is to offer less expensive, less invasive alternatives to surgery. And our procedures come with shorter recovery periods, less pain and lower risks of complications.

But what does an interventional radiology procedure look like? We’ll take a closer look in a moment. But first, we must explain the difference between spider and varicose veins.

Spider veins vs varicose veins: What’s the difference?

People use the terms spider veins and varicose veins interchangeably. But that’s a problem, since these similar concerns have important differences. (And they impact your ultimate treatment options!)

Here’s the story: both spider and varicose veins are enlarged because of pooling blood. They develop when something goes wrong in your body, causing your valves to fail and blood to pool. But here’s the difference. Varicose veins typically develop in larger veins that sit deeper within your legs. They won’t just change color, but they’ll likely bulge under your skin, possibly looking like they’re tangled or twisted. In contrast, spider veins usually impact your legs’ smaller, superficial veins (close to the skin’s surface.) And, rather than bulging, they simply change color, their darker shade becoming the reason they’re visible on your skin.

Also, spider veins usually don’t hurt. But varicose veins are often very painful. And, while minimally invasive vein treatments can work for both conditions, they’re really best suited for spider veins. Because varicose veins may need different interventions.

What is a minimally invasive vein treatment? minimally invasive vein treatments

During an IR procedure, your interventional radiologist is guided by an image, such as that from an ultrasound. This gives us a live picture of less accessible parts of your body. Making just a small incision, we guide that image to  the remote location in your body using a catheter. And that’s why your treatments don’t require major surgical incisions!

Interventional radiology procedures include:

  • Spider vein ablation

    This out-patient procedure sends heat to your malfunctioning veins, using a small catheter that we insert to your vein. The high, controlled temperature permanently closes up the problem vein or veins. And it eliminates the appearance on your skin, while preventing vein disease progression.

  • Uterine fibroid embolization

    This is a, out-patient, in-hospital, non-surgical procedure that effectively kills these tumors without an overnight hospital stay! First, we gain access to your uterine artery through the radial artery in your wrist. (We can also begin with the femoral artery in your thigh.) Then, as with vein ablation, we insert a catheter to your artery, working towards the uterine artery and your fibroid. Finally, we insert embolic material to block blood flow to the tumor, causing it to shrink and, eventually, disappear.

  • Sclerotherapy:

    This is a great option for varicose veins that don’t look great, but aren’t showing signs that you’ve got serious vein disease. Essentially, this is a great cosmetic treatment. With liquid sclerotherapy, we inject your veins with an FDA-approved solution. It’s designed to irritate the inside lumen of your spider veins. And that irritation causes spider veins to gradually collapse and shrink, so your body reabsorbs them. You’ll need between three or four 30-minute treatments, spaced at least three weeks apart. But if you have multiple varicose veins, you may require even more injections.

    We love this treatment option for a few reasons. You don’t feel any pain with the injections. It’s safe and effective. (While your veins may look worse right after treatment, you should notice fading and improvements between 4-6 weeks after your injections.)

    With sclerotherapy, most people can get right back to walking after treatment. (You’ll typically wait two days before getting cleared for strenuous activities.) But if your visible veins are large, painful or break down the overlying skin, sclerotherapy may not be your best choice. Instead, you may need to combine treatments with leaky valve repairs. Plus, you may want to remove your troubled veins with treatments like phlebectomy, highlighted below.

  • Phlebectomy

    This is a surgical procedure, but it’s still minimally invasive. Basically, when your bulging veins are located right under your skin, we can use local anesthetic, then make several tiny incisions in your leg. Through those incisions, we remove your bulging vein and, because the slits were so small, you won’t need stitches and any scarring will be minimal. Plus, six months after your procedure, any marks should disappear entirely!

There are so many more ways we can address your vein health challenges without invasive surgery.  But we want you to understand why that’s such a big deal for your overall health. So please keep reading to find out why you should explore minimally invasive vein treatments.

Interventional Radiology vs. Surgery: What’s the Benefit?

As we mentioned, IR procedures hurt less than surgeries. They are less likely to leave a scar and, thanks to image guidance, are often more precise than surgical procedures.

Many times, they can be performed with no overnight hospital stays. And no hospital stay means less out-of-pocket expenses for most patients!

So, does less pain, less cost, less risk and more accuracy sounds like what you’re looking for in a vein treatment? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Simply schedule a consultation with one of our highly trained Interventional Radiologists to learn if you are a good candidate for our treatment protocols.

Sources: Radiology Info

Check It Out: We’re the Biggest Medical Discovery of the Decade!

As interventional radiologists in Houston, TX, the doctors at Texas Endovascular Associates take pride in our field. We love helping our patients regain their good health without going through invasive surgeries and difficult recovery periods. And, as it turns out, plenty of people feel the same way!

Recently, MSN.COM included Interventional Radiology among its list of the biggest medical discoveries of the decade. That’s a really big deal—for our doctors and for all the patients we have helped and will continue to serve. Take a look at what they had to say about the type of medicine we practice!

Why Interventional Radiology is a Major Medical Advancement

In the article, Dr. Raj Ayyagari, an Interventional Radiologist at Yale Medicine, explained. “Some of the biggest developments in the last decade…are the advancements of image-guided minimally invasive procedures… With these methods we can cure liver and kidney cancers, shrink enlarged prostates that cause urine blockage (BPH) or uterine fibroids that cause bleeding or pain…we can stop emergency bleeding…create blood vessel access for dialysis… [And] we can unblock vessels clogged with clots (known as DVT or deep vein thrombosis).” PAD Treatment

In fact, we perform many of those procedures in our offices in and around the Houston area. How do we do it? The majority of our procedures begin when we make a pin-sized opening in your skin, then navigate catheters through your blood vessels in order to treat your veins and arteries, blood clots and even fibroid tumors.

Better yet, we can perform our procedures without putting you under general anesthesia. That means you’re looking at less down time and lower costs, and, in almost every situation, with the added bonus of no overnight hospital stays.

To quote our colleague, Dr. Ayyagari, “There is a saying about Interventional Radiology – ‘it’s like surgery, only magic!'”

If you are dealing with vein disease, hardened arteries, spider veins or other concerns, we invite you to explore the ‘magic’ our vein specialists can perform. Schedule your diagnostic ultrasound today and see what we’re about.

 

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