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When patients visit our laser vein treatment center, they’re not just worried about the appearance of varicose veins––in most cases, varicose veins are having a negative impact on their quality of life as well. We’ve shared some of the most common questions patients have about laser vein treatment, but now we’re going to take a look at what the experience is like from the perspective of a patient.
What Are Varicose Veins?
First, let’s go over the basics of varicose veins. Everyone knows what they look like, but what are they and why do they happen?
Varicose veins occur when the valves inside veins become weak or damaged. This allows blood to pool in the veins, causing them to swell. Unlike spider veins, which are closer to the surface, varicose veins are located deeper within the legs. (Although varicose veins can form anywhere in the body, they most often occur in the legs.) They appear gnarled, twisted, and rope-like and they are typically blue or purple in color, making them hard to hide.
While spider veins do not usually cause any physical symptoms, varicose veins aren’t just an aesthetic issue––they may also cause pain and discomfort. Some symptoms of varicose veins include:
- Tenderness, swelling, and throbbing
- An increase in leg cramps
- Burning, tingling, or itching on the skin surrounding the vein
- A feeling of tiredness or heaviness in the legs
- Aching and pain, especially after physical activity
There are certain conditions and circumstances that put you at higher risk for developing varicose veins. Pregnancy, constipation, tumors, being overweight or obese, a sedentary lifestyle, and a genetic predisposition increase your odds of developing varicose veins, as does age––when we get older, our veins are more likely to become varicose.
What Is Laser Vein Treatment?
You may not be able to control whether or not you get varicose veins, but you can easily treat them when they do occur. Laser vein treatment is safe, effective, and quick. Many of our patients leave our NJ vein treatment center wondering why they didn’t have it done sooner!
We know that varicose veins occur when a vein isn’t functioning properly. There’s no way for us to restore proper function to a damaged vein that is no longer working; therefore, the best solution is to seal it shut so blood can no longer pool in it. We do this by inserting a small laser fiber into the vein and delivering a pulse of energy to close off its blood supply. Your circulatory system will naturally divert the blood flow to other, healthy veins instead.
Varicose Veins Before Treatment
When patients come to CORE Medical & Wellness for laser vein treatment, we listen carefully to their symptoms and concerns. They often feel self-conscious about the appearance of their legs; they’re too embarrassed to go to the beach wearing a swimsuit or they wear long pants even on the hottest summer days because they don’t want to wear shorts or skirts that show their veins.
Other times, their primary concern is pain. Walking the dog around the block leaves their legs feeling achy and tired. They make excuses to avoid physical activity or being on their feet too long. Their overall health suffers because they’re not able to workout like they used to. When pain is severe, they may begin to feel isolated from friends and loved ones because they’re unable to participate in the same activities anymore.
As varicose veins progress when left untreated, they can become even more painful and the risks begin to compound. Complications of untreated varicose veins include blood clots, deep vein thrombosis, ankle sores, skin ulcers, and bleeding. Inflammation and hyperpigmentation in the area of the varicose veins are also common.
What Happens During Laser Vein Treatment
It’s normal to feel nervous on the day of the procedure. You can expect to feel some discomfort during treatment, but patients rarely describe the experience as painful. Laser vein treatment is a simple outpatient procedure performed in our office, with no down-time needed and no general anesthesia.
The first step in the process is to map your veins. To do this, we use a Doppler ultrasound device. By knowing exactly where to apply the laser energy, we can ensure that your treatment is quick and effective.
After we’ve mapped your veins, we’ll apply a local anesthetic to numb the area around them to keep you comfortable. We then insert a thin laser fiber into your vein, deliver a pulse of energy, and cut off the vein’s blood supply. You may feel minor stinging or tingling when this occurs. Once we’ve removed the fiber, we place a small bandage on the skin where it was inserted––no stitches are needed.
If you have a large number of varicose veins that need treatment, you may require multiple appointments. Most patients can be treated in one session and sessions are usually under an hour long. Our laser vein treatments have a 98% success rate and patients experience immediate relief of symptoms.
Soreness and bruising are common in the days following the procedure. We recommend over-the-counter pain relievers and ice packs applied for no more than 15 minutes at a time to help alleviate some of this discomfort. Although you can go right back to work after the procedure, we advise our patients to take it easy––avoid strenuous exercise, long periods of standing or sitting, and keep your legs elevated whenever you can. Compression stockings help too.
Once a varicose vein has been closed off from the blood supply, it is permanently treated––the valve cannot reopen and the vein will not become varicose again. That said, the same risk factors that were present before your procedure will still be present after. Losing weight and being more active can help you avoid getting more varicose veins, but if your risk factors include genetics or your age, it’s likely that you’ll develop one or more new varicose veins at some point in the future.
What Patients Can Expect After Laser Vein Treatment
Here’s what patients have to say after undergoing laser vein treatment:
“I don’t have to put concealer on my legs when I wear a dress now.”
Patients feel confident wearing dresses, skirts, and shorts. They no longer have to dab concealer on their veins to try to obscure the purple color before going out or worry about wearing a bathing suit on vacation. While these concerns may seem minor, feeling good about your physical appearance can give you a much-needed boost––it’s nice to be able to do something for yourself. Patients who used to spend a lot of time, energy, and thought on figuring out ways to hide their varicose veins feel that a weight has been lifted after their laser vein treatment.
“I can finally get back to the gym.”
Varicose veins can decrease mobility and activity levels. Patients find that once their varicose veins are gone, they can return to their previous activities again. They go to the gym more regularly, they’re more likely to take the stairs than the elevator, and they can keep up better with their kids and grandkids. They can be active without having their legs feel sore and tired at the end of the day.
“I can’t believe how much better I sleep.”
Those end of the day aches and pains from varicose veins can make it difficult to fall asleep at night. Our patients often report that after laser vein treatment, they fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. They’re no longer tossing and turning each night, kept awake by itchy veins and throbbing legs.
“Why did I put this off for so long?”
As we mentioned above, this is a sentiment frequently expressed by our patients. Laser vein treatment is quick, effective, and virtually painless. The results are immediate and dramatic. Treatment is affordable and because varicose veins can cause discomfort and increase your risk for more serious complications, medical insurance often covers the cost. There’s no reason to wait any longer––you’ll be glad you finally made the call.
Make an Appointment with Our Board-Certified Physician
Are you suffering from the embarrassment and pain of varicose veins? CORE Medical & Wellness can help. Using our integrative approach to wellness, Dr. Steven Kim will treat your varicose veins and help you make the lifestyle changes you need to prevent them from coming back. Schedule an appointment today to learn more about our state-of-the-art laser vein treatment center by calling 888-521-0688.