EVLT

EVLT: What you need to know about the procedure

Patients suffering from varicose veins may benefit from several different types of therapy. One of the most commonly used therapies for people with this condition, however, is endovenous laser therapy, or EVLT. Below is some basic information about this popular treatment option.

Indications

Endovenous laser therapy is the treatment of choice for patients who have varicose veins that are too large to be treated with sclerotherapy and too deep within the tissues to benefit from microphlebectomy. Patients who select this procedure may or may not have tried more conservative treatment options, such as elevation of the legs or the use of compression stockings, prior to seeking professional treatment.

How it Works

During endovenous laser therapy, a vein specialist inserts a thin fiber into the patient’s abnormal veins. He or she will then use the fiber to deliver laser energy to the interior of the vein. As the fiber is removed, the walls of the vein seal closed behind it. Blood is routed into healthier vessels, and the treated vessel fades from view.

What to Expect

Patients undergoing EVLT may experience some discomfort during and after the procedure. Patients may also notice minor bruising. However, all of these symptoms will fade in the days and weeks following the procedure. Patients can also take over-the-counter pain remedies to reduce discomfort after the procedure. Patients should avoid the use of any pain relievers that contain aspirin.

Results

A patient who undergoes endovenous laser therapy will notice a marked improvement in the appearance of the treated veins once the procedure is complete. Patients who were experiencing uncomfortable symptoms because of their varicose veins, such as cramping, tingling, weakness, aching or numbness, should also experience relief after endovenous laser therapy.

Making an Appointment

If you are interested in scheduling endovenous laser therapy, you must first meet with a qualified vein doctor for an evaluation. After reviewing your medical history and examining your veins, your doctor will be able to help you decide whether this procedure is right for you. Please contact the McLean Vein & Wellness Center today to get started.

swollen legs

3 Reasons You May Have Swollen Legs

You look down at your legs and they are puffy and seem larger than life. Swollen legs can occur for a number of reasons, and the exact cause of them varies. While many instances of leg swelling aren’t a cause of concern, there are some cases when having swollen legs can signal a serious condition. Usually, if the swelling is accompanied by pain or trouble breathing, or if the swelling persists for a long period of time, you’ll want to speak to a doctor. Understanding the more common causes of leg swelling can help you decide what to do about it.

Common Causes of Swollen Legs

Venous Insufficiency

Venous insufficiency means that the veins in your legs aren’t able to pump blood back up to the heart as well as they should. When someone has venous insufficiency, the walls and valves in certain veins are damaged. According to the National Institutes of Health, an insufficiency causes the blood to pool in the veins, leading to varicose veins and swelling. A number of varicose vein treatment options, from wearing compression stockings to vein ablation, can help improve the function of the veins and reduce swelling.

Sitting or Standing for Extended Periods

In some cases, sitting or standing for a long period can lead to a build-up of fluid in the legs and to swelling. It’s not uncommon for people to notice some swelling after they’ve been on a plane for a long time or if they have a job that requires standing in one place for hours. Usually, swollen legs related to long periods of sitting and standing aren’t a major cause for concern. If you do have swelling after a flight or after standing for hours, you can help minimize it by drinking lots of water, by moving your feet and legs every so often, and by wearing loose clothing. Compression stockings can also help reduce swelling connected to staying still for long periods.

A Blood Clot

Persistent swelling in the legs might be a sign of a serious issue, namely a blood clot. A blood clot can block a vein or it can break free and travel to the lungs, where it can cause a blockage known as a pulmonary embolism. If your legs are swollen, red, and you feel pain, it’s a good idea to see your doctor for a diagnosis. If you have swelling in the legs and are having trouble breathing, you’ll want to go the emergency room, as the difficulty breathing can mean that you have a clot deep in your veins which can potentially travel to your lungs.

When leg swelling is related to varicose veins, a number of treatments are available. To learn more about your vein treatment options, contact Dr. Nordine Gaugau and the McLean Vein & Wellness Center for a consultation today.

RF Ablation

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blue veins

Blue Veins: What They Are and How to Get Rid of Them

For many people, blue veins on their legs or face are a cosmetic issue that affects their self-confidence.  Some, however, experience discomfort.  Fortunately, a vascular specialist can offer patients a number of alternatives for eliminating these abnormal blood vessels.

What Are Those Blue Veins?

Tiny web-like veins that might also be red or purple are most likely spider veins that cause no medical problems.  The so-called gold standard for treating them is sclerotherapy, described below.

Larger, rope-like vessels are varicose veins.  They can cause a great deal of discomfort and require evaluation by a vein doctor.  According to the Society for Vascular Surgery, as many as 35 percent of Americans suffer from these abnormal veins, which most often develop in the legs.

Veins transport blood toward the heart.  When damaged, valves inside them are unable to close properly.  This causes blood to leak backward.

As blood pools in the vein, the volume causes the vessel to swell and bulge.  The result is often a knot-like, dark blue or red varicose vessel visible through the skin, MedlinePlus indicates.  The patient might sense an aching feeling, throbbing, or swelling in the feet or the ankles.

Risk factors for varicose veins include:

  • Age
  • Being female
  • Obesity of even being overweight
  • Family history
  • Prior blood clots in the leg
  • Prolonged sitting or standing

Treatment Options for Varicose Veins

Patients at a vein center in McLean, VA have multiple options.  The Mayo Clinic reports that conservative measures include lifestyle changes such as losing excess weight, elevating the legs, not sitting or standing for long periods, and avoiding tight clothing.  Compression stockings are another conservative option.

For more severe cases, vein doctors can offer these outpatient options:

  • Sclerotherapy:  A physician injects a special solution into small or medium veins to cause them to scar, close, and eventually fade.
  • Foam sclerotherapy:  Vein clinics use it for larger veins.
  • Laser procedures:  This technology seals off small varicose vessels and spider veins by emitting bursts of light that cause the vein to fade, then disappear.
  • Catheter procedures with radiofrequency or laser energy:  As the physician pulls out a heated catheter inserted into a large varicose vein, the heat causes the vessel to collapse, then seal shut.
  • Ambulatory phlebectomy:  It allows a vein specialist to remove small veins through tiny punctures in the skin.
  • Endoscopic vein surgery:  Usually reserved for advanced cases when other procedures fail, it involves inserting a tiny camera to see, close, and remove veins.

For decades, vein stripping was the standard treatment for varicose veins.  Today, physicians seldom use it.

It is important for patients to realize that while there are multiple options for eliminating varicose veins, no procedure will prevent new vessels from forming.  For this reason, some patients return for periodic treatment.