Varicose veins are often regarded as a cosmetic issue, and while those bulging, twisted veins are unsightly, they’re more than just an eyesore. Varicose veins can cause cramping, achiness, and a sensation of heaviness in your legs. Untreated varicose veins can also increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and leg ulcers.
Varicose vein treatments can help improve the appearance of your legs while helping to eliminate the bothersome symptoms 一 such as cramping or aches 一 of varicose veins.
Dr. Muthu Velusamy and our team at Cardiovascular Institute of America in Tampa and Lutz, Florida, offer a variety of treatments, including ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy.
Here’s what you need to know about ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy.
Sclerotherapy is a non-surgical varicose vein treatment that relies on a sclerosing agent (called a sclerosant) to seal off problematic veins. Sclerosing agents can be composed of many different ingredients, such as hypertonic saline, sodium tetradecyl sulfate, polidocanol, and chromated glycerin, and they can be available in a foam version. Regardless of which sclerosing agent is used, the principle behind them is the same: They are chemical irritants that treat varicose veins by causing irreversible endothelial scarring 一 the word sclerosing is tied to the word sclerosis, which means scarring.
When the sclerosing agent is inserted into your varicose vein, the foam spreads evenly throughout the vein and seals it off. Because this shuts down your vein, your blood is rerouted to other veins. Over time, your body absorbs the treated vein.
Now let’s take a look at how ultrasounds fit into this process. As its name implies, ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy relies on the same basic principles of sclerotherapy, except that it uses ultrasound imaging to guide the placement of the sclerosing foam.
During your sclerotherapy procedure, Dr. Velusamy uses ultrasound technology to project real-time images of your veins onto a screen. This provides him with a visual of which area of your vein requires the treatment. Once the targeted treatment area is in sight, the foam is injected into the vein. After the needle is removed, Dr. Velusamy massages your vein to keep blood out of the treated vein and to disperse the foam properly.
After sclerotherapy, you wear compression stockings for a specific amount of time to help apply a gentle pressure on the treated veins. When you return for a follow-up appointment, we examine your veins and determine if you need any additional treatments.
Ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy isn’t the only treatment for varicose veins and spider veins. Here at Cardiovascular Institute of America, we also offer radiofrequency ablation and laser ablation. These are heat-based ablation procedures that rely on the heat of laser or radiofrequency energy to destroy varicose veins.
How do you know which type of treatment is right for you? The only way to know for sure which type of treatment is right for you is through a thorough examination. Dr. Velusamy performs a comprehensive exam, reviews your medical history and your current symptoms, and analyzes any diagnostic images of your veins.
You might consider ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy if:
To learn more about ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy or to find out if it’s right for you, call Cardiovascular Institute of America or book a consultation online today.