Are Vascular Surgeons Necessary to Eliminate Varicose Veins?
Vascular surgeons perform important, often lifesaving, procedures for issues like aortic aneurysms, ruptured arteries, and peripheral artery disease. They were once the doctor of choice for varicose veins too. However, less invasive tactics have largely replaced surgery for varicose veins. Vascular surgeons operate on a small number of patients who have blood clots in their veins or highly tortuous varicosities. But most vascular surgeons now use surgery primarily on arteries.
Minimally invasive vein specialists, like phlebologists, are the best physicians for spider veins and varicose veins. If you choose a vascular surgeon, inquire about their training in less invasive methods too. Book an appointment with minimally invasive vein specialists at our award-winning vein center to receive the latest, non-surgical treatments.
Is a Phlebologist or Interventional Radiologist Better?
If you have varicose veins, spider veins, or Chronic Venous Insufficiency (the cause of most spider and varicose veins), your best choice is a phlebologist, or minimally invasive vein doctor. These experts are board certified in cutting-edge procedures for veins that don’t require surgery or general anesthesia. Doctors can now treat veins with tiny needles, catheters, and fibers, rather than using large incisions.
Research shows that closing veins off, rather than surgically cutting them out, reduces the likelihood of neovascularization (regrowth of varicose veins). A dermatologist or interventional radiologist might offer superficial tactics, like surface lasers for facial spider veins. But larger, deeper varicose veins require the expertise of a board certified vein doctor who uses ultrasound-guided procedures. These specialists will analyze your unique venous pathways to locate the source of the varicose vein and identify any potential complications with existing blood clots or connecting veins prior to treatment.
Is Ambulatory Phlebectomy a Good Alternative to Surgery?
A newer surgical method, called ambulatory phlebectomy, is a good alternative for some patients. While this is still a surgical extraction, the procedure uses tiny punctures to pull the vein out, rather than large, deep incisions. This means the patient won’t need general anesthesia and will have an easier recovery.
While it still carries more risk than non-surgical methods, ambulatory phlebectomy is a gentler vein treatment than traditional phlebectomy. If your vein doctor recommends surgery, ask whether you’re eligible for a minimally invasive vein treatment instead, or a surgery like ambulatory phlebectomy. If the doctor isn’t trained in these procedures, get a second opinion. Surgery is necessary for some, but most patients do not need it.
Is Radiofrequency or Laser Treatment Better Than Surgery?
Most patients are better suited to an ablative procedure than a surgical one. These procedures include radiofrequency ablation and endovenous laser treatment. In these treatments, doctors inject an anesthetic around the vein to protect adjacent tissue from heat. Then they activate a tiny fiber with either laser energy or radiofrequency energy to heat the walls of the vein. This creates scar tissue that seals the vein shut. Blood flows into a vein nearby that carries it back to the heart, rather than collecting in the varicose vein.
Patients complete these procedures in 20 to 30 minutes, and most head back to work or their usual routine. Other non-surgical options include sclerotherapy, vein adhesives, and mechanochemical ablation, so ask your vein doctor which is best for you. The efficacy, cost, risk profile, and recovery time of non-surgical procedures are superior to surgery for most patients.
Do Non-Surgical Treatments Fix Chronic Venous Insufficiency?
Another reason to ask your vein doctor, “How can I get rid of varicose veins without surgery” is that many non-surgical treatments also eliminate the cause. For many patients, the cause is Chronic Venous Insufficiency. When blood flows backward through valves in the veins, it causes swelling and engorgement that generates spider veins and varicose veins. Leg veins are prone to valve failure since they pump blood against gravity while bearing your body weight.
A non-surgical procedure can close off the varicose vein and also the broken valve that produced it. But it’s important to choose a board certified vein doctor with ultrasound training to achieve this. Cosmetic vein centers don’t have the technology needed to locate broken valves or observe treatment to ensure all issues, including Chronic Venous Insufficiency, are resolved. If you only treat the surface damage, new spider veins and varicose veins might continue to develop.
Can I Wear Compression Stockings Instead of Having Surgery?
Some patients try to wear compression stockings instead of having surgery. While compression stockings can reduce symptoms like swelling and cramping in certain patients, they don’t eliminate the varicose vein or the underlying cause. For some patients, they provide no relief at all. For others, they can be dangerous, particularly if they have blood clots or blood pressure issues. It’s essential to have a vein doctor provide the right size for you to wear. Too little or too much compression is possible without a doctor’s advice.
If your varicose veins are symptomatic or caused by Chronic Venous Insufficiency, you will likely need vein treatment for relief. The good news is surgery is rarely required. Most patients have a 30-minute, minimally invasive procedure that’s preferable to long-term compression therapy. Insurance now covers many vein treatments, including a trial of compression stockings, so visit our California vein center to learn more.
Which Vein Treatment Causes the Least Pain and Discomfort?
Non-surgical methods like radiofrequency ablation, endovenous laser treatment, sclerotherapy, and vein adhesives cause less pain and discomfort than surgery. These don’t use large incisions or stitches, and they don’t damage the area around the vein. Ambulatory phlebectomy is a less painful surgery than traditional phlebectomy, and it has a quicker recovery. So, if you need surgery, ask about that option.
There is no universally optimal treatment. The right method for you depends on your medical history, symptoms, and venous pathways. To prevent pain and discomfort, choose a minimally invasive vein doctor with ultrasound training. These vein specialists will use the gentlest method possible and will observe the treatment as it’s applied, to prevent a recurrence of varicose veins. Our Harvard-trained vein doctors in California offer the latest non-surgical methods for gentle vein care.