Venous hypertension may not be as immediately life-threatening as arterial hypertension, but it’s still very difficult to live with. As the veins and their valves, particularly those in the lower extremities, become weaker, you can suffer greatly from varicose veins that cause pain and itching and are unsightly or embarrassing. At Commonwealth Vein Center in Richmond, VA, we offer many venous hypertension treatments that can help you find relief from venous hypertension.
How Is Venous Hypertension Treated?
1. Venous Ablation
One possible treatment for this condition uses heat from radio-frequency ablation to close up problem veins and divert blood flow to nearby, healthier veins. While this is sometimes done with lasers, at Commonwealth Vein Center, we use radiofrequency because it is a superior and safer method.
How It Works
For this treatment, we first give you a local anesthetic to ensure you’re completely comfortable, and then we make tiny incisions in the problem vein. We use these incisions to insert a small tube that delivers radiofrequency energy within the vein. This causes the vein to collapse.
This is a fairly simple treatment, so you don’t need extended downtime to recover. You can immediately start walking around again, and you’ll just need to avoid a few of the more strenuous activities, such as running or weight lifting, for a short time. You’ll also get the best results if you wear a compression garment for a week afterward.
It will only take about a week for the vein to fully close, and the blood flow will be safely diverted to other veins. Once the vein is closed and gone, it cannot cause a problem again, though it’s possible to develop new varicose veins elsewhere.
Sclerotherapy is one of the oldest and most reliable methods considered for venous hypertension treatment. This minimally invasive treatment uses a special injected solution (the sclerosant) to irritate the problem veins. This irritation causes them to close up, and—as with radiofrequency treatment—the body simply diverts blood flow to nearby veins.
How It Works
This is a very fast treatment. We will give you a local anesthetic and then administer small injections into the problem vein or veins. The number of injections will ultimately depend on the size and location of the veins, and some people will need several treatments to get rid of all their varicose veins. The whole process takes just about half an hour, and you can (and should) walk around immediately after the injections.
Once the treatment is over, you can resume nearly all your daily activities immediately. We will ask that you wear compression garments, and these are crucial to encourage your treated vessels to close quickly and to divert blood flow.
The temporary lifestyle changes you will need to avoid after treatment are using anti-inflammatories or exposing the treated area to any intense heat, such as from the sun, a hot bath, or a whirlpool. Showers should be cooler than usual, as well. These minor restrictions are lifted after just two days.
VenaSeal is a newer but still very safe treatment for varicose veins. You can think of VenaSeal as being a kind of superglue for the veins. Instead of irritating or heating the vein closed, VenaSeal holds the vein closed physically. Ultimately, it has the same effect as sclerotherapy or radiofrequency ablation: the blood is diverted to other veins.
How It Works
We first numb the area to ensure your complete comfort. Then we use small incisions to insert a very small catheter. This catheter delivers the adhesive to precisely the right spot in the problem vein. We use an ultrasound device to “see” exactly where we’re going so the adhesive can be guided to the correct spot.
As the problem spots are reached, we’ll use a series of fast trigger pulls to deliver the adhesive in each required area, applying compression at the same time. Once it’s done, you’ll have a small bandage at the site.
One of the advantages of VenaSeal is that it doesn’t require you to wear compression garments afterward. You can immediately return to all your normal activities, including exercise. This is a popular treatment because it’s fast, simple, has almost no side effects, and doesn’t restrict your activities or movement in any way. The closed veins typically stay closed for up to three years.
A phlebectomy actually physically removes the diseased veins. In some cases, this is a good treatment to combine with others, especially when you have multiple, severe varicose veins.
How It Works
The procedure itself takes between 30 and 90 minutes, depending on the patient. We start by marking your leg so we know which veins need to be removed. Then, we inject a local anesthetic for your comfort. Once the anesthesia has taken effect, we will make very tiny incisions—about 2mm—to reach the problem vein. Once we reach this vein, a small vein hook is used to extract it.
One advantage of this treatment is that there’s no waiting for the vein to disappear or slowly close off on its own. And, unlike sclerotherapy, once this procedure is finished, you’re done. There’s no need for multiple treatments.
As with other treatments, you’ll be encouraged to get up and walk around immediately after the veins are removed. You will need to wear compression garments for a week afterward, and possibly at night for longer. For the first three days following your procedure, you will need to avoid any strenuous exercise or work.
ClariVein uses two methods to treat diseased veins, which makes it especially effective. It is sometimes referred to as a hybrid treatment, and it offers faster and better results than most one-time treatments.
How It Works
As with other treatments, we will first ensure you are comfortable and the area is protected with a local anesthetic if necessary. However, one of the advantages of ClariVein is that it requires no lidocaine, making it the perfect treatment for anyone with an allergy to this medication.
Treatment starts as we make small incisions to insert a special device that can rotate 360 degrees. As the device rotates, it’s doing two different things. First, it’s injecting a sclerosant to irritate the inside of the vein so the vein will close.
At the same time, the rotating tip is sloughing off the cellular lining of the vein. This weakens the vein so it will close faster while allowing the sclerosant to be more effective.
This treatment takes just 15 to 30 minutes, and you can return immediately to most normal activities. It’s best if you keep the dressing on your leg for the next 24 hours and use compression garments for a few days afterward. For about two weeks after treatment, you should avoid swimming or long soaks in the bath and doing anything that would require you to lift more than about 30 pounds.
This treatment is somewhat similar to sclerotherapy and uses an FDA-approved foam to close off diseased veins.
How It Works
As with sclerotherapy, we will numb the area and then administer a series of small injections. These deliver a microfoam that forces the blood out of the diseased vein and into nearby veins. The problem vein then collapses. No incisions or catheters are required, and the microfoam is very quickly absorbed by the body.
The treatment itself takes about a half-hour, and you can resume most of your normal activities on the same day as you have treatment. You should avoid strenuous exercise for a week after treatment and follow any specific instructions that apply to your unique case.
Which Treatment Will Be Used on My Veins?
Each of the treatments listed above has pros and cons. Each is right for some people and not right for others. Each of us is unique, and at Commonwealth Vein Center, your treatment will start with a consultation so we can thoroughly understand your venous hypertension and help you choose the right treatment for you. We use scientifically-proven approaches and strive to not just treat your veins, but also provide you with a pleasant experience.
Working with Dr. Saquib Samee—a triple board-certified doctor of cardiology, venous disease, and vascular medicine—you’ll discover the best treatment for your situation. We will consider not just your venous health, but also your overall health condition, your budget, and your personal preferences for treatment.
FAQ About Venous Hypertension
How Does This Relate to Arterial Hypertension?
The arteries take blood away from the heart to the various cells of the body to bring nutrients and oxygen to those cells. The veins take the spent blood back to the heart. Venous hypertension is essentially high blood pressure in the veins, but it’s not related to arterial hypertension. You can suffer from varicose veins even if you have no heart disease, and you may have heart disease without ever developing a varicose vein.
Varicose veins almost always develop in the lower extremities because the blood in the veins is trying to move uphill, against gravity, to get back to the heart. Small, one-way valves within the veins stop blood from moving backward, but sometimes these veins fail. When they do, the blood pools in the veins, causing varicose veins.
What Causes Vein Valves to Weaken or Malfunction?
No one knows for certain all the reasons our valves to stop functioning properly, though there are several contributing factors.
People who spend a lot of time standing will frequently develop varicose veins, but walking usually improves the condition, at least somewhat. Varicose veins are also linked to a sedentary lifestyle. However, it’s important to stress that even active people at a healthy weight can develop varicose veins, and that’s because lifestyle is only one factor.
Genetics and Body Changes
Genetics are also at play in this condition, and if someone in your family has varicose veins, you are much more likely to develop them. They can also develop after pregnancy or with general weight gain as the weight compresses the veins.
Are Varicose Veins Dangerous?
For most people, varicose veins aren’t a serious threat to health. However, venous hypertension is a real disease, and getting treatment is important. In some cases, varicose veins can be a symptom of chronic venous disease.
These veins can also be itchy, ache, or become painful and interfere with normal life. They are also unsightly, and some people feel self-conscious about uncovering their legs in public.
Learn More About the Best Treatment for You
If you have varicose veins and would like to learn more, visit Commonwealth Vein Center in Richmond, VA now to set up a consultation. We can help you find the relief you seek through the right treatment for your unique needs.