At Commonwealth Vein Center in Colonial Heights, VA, Dr. Samee offers several vein removal treatments to address both spider and varicose veins. Among the most popular treatment for varicose veins is phlebectomy, a minimally invasive treatment that removes varicose veins through pinholes roughly 1 to 3 mm in diameter. Here’s what you need to know about the entire process.
How Long Does Phlebectomy Take?
On average, phlebectomy takes around 30 to 60 minutes to complete. However, the length of time it takes to complete your treatment depends on the location, size, and number of varicose veins you are trying to treat. If your veins are larger, deeper beneath the surface of your skin, extremely twisted, or greater in number, then your treatment will take longer.
What Happens During Treatment?
Before your treatment begins, the targeted area is cleaned and a local anesthetic is injected. This local anesthetic ensures that your skin and veins are numbed so you do not experience any pain or discomfort as the veins are removed from your body. You will be awake during treatment. If you feel anxious, ask us about taking a mild sedative the night before and the day of your session.
Once the treatment area is cleaned, the extraction points will be marked and tiny punctures will be made in your skin above the affected veins. Through these punctures, we will use a sterile, medical-grade device designed to remove varicose veins efficiently and effectively through tiny holes rather than a ½-inch incision.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
The number of treatments you will need depends on the number of varicose veins that you need to be removed. Typically, only 10 to 20 varicose veins are removed in a single 30- to 60-minute-long session. Therefore, if you have 50 varicose veins that need to be removed, you may need two, hour-long sessions and one 30-minute session to remove all the varicose veins.
How Long Does Preparing for Treatment Take?
Preparing for your treatment session doesn’t take long. Unlike invasive procedures, there is no need to stop smoking and drinking for several weeks, there is no need to stop taking medications that have the potential for certain side effects, and there is no need to arrange for childcare so you can spend a week or two recovering from your vein removal.
How to Prepare for Treatment
How you must prepare for treatment depends on several factors, including your health. During your initial evaluation, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to prepare for treatment. However, it’s important to note that the preparation for this treatment is not extensive.
For example, because general anesthesia is not used, there is no need to fast for the 12 hours leading up to your session. You are also free to take any medications or supplements you take regularly, including on the day of your session. The most important thing you must do to prepare is to take your prescribed muscle relaxant an hour before treatment to ensure the area is loose.
How Long Does Recovery Take?
There is minimal recovery associated with this treatment. As this is a non-invasive treatment, there are very few restrictions on what you can do following your session. These restrictions are typically put in place for 24 hours, but they may be in effect for up to 48 hours depending on how many veins were removed and how large they were.
Driving After Treatment
You may drive yourself home from your appointment because no general anesthesia is administered. However, if you have a friend or family member who can drive you to and from our office, we strongly recommend that you go this route.
What Else to Avoid After Treatment
As long as you wear your prescription-strength compression garment, there’s not much you’re restricted from after your vein removal treatment. You are free to return to work, even if you have a job that requires you to work on your feet.
The most important thing for you to avoid after your treatment session is strenuous exercise. This means that you are free to engage in mild-to-moderate exercise like walking, jogging, and spinning at a pace that allows you to sing or hold a conversation. Weight lifting, CrossFit, high-intensity interval training, and indoor rowing are all off-limits.
How Long Do the Results Last?
The durability of treatment results depends mostly on the cause of your varicose veins. If they were caused by a preventable condition, such as obesity, that does not recur, your varicose veins will not recur.
If, however, your varicose veins were caused by a non-preventable factor, such as genetics, then there is a chance that you will develop varicose veins again in the future. Keep in mind, you may not develop varicose veins in the same location.
How to Extend Results
To extend your results, the cause of your varicose veins must first be diagnosed. If your varicose veins are caused by a preventable condition, you must take steps to prevent the triggering condition from recurring. Let’s take a look at two of the most common preventable causes of varicose veins and what you can do to prevent them:
A sedentary lifestyle is one of the most common preventable varicose veins. If you have a sedentary job, such as a desk job, it may not be feasible for you to change jobs or pick up a second job that requires a lot of walking. However, you can make an effort to be more active when you come home from work.
For example, you can take a 30-minute walk on your lunch break or walk to the fax machine or water fountain every hour. If you sit all evening when you get home, you can do calisthenics during commercial breaks or set a 60-minute timer on your phone to walk around the room.
When you’re pregnant, your hormones rage. Due to these drastic hormone fluctuations, women retain a significant amount of water and often gain a significant amount of fat in the lower abdomen. Combined with extra blood flowing through the veins, this excess pressure from the abdomen to the lower legs can put too much strain on your veins.
To mitigate your risk of developing varicose veins during future pregnancies, make sure you walk regularly and eat healthy foods that support a healthy circulatory system. Furthermore, you should walk regularly and elevate your legs above your heart when you lie down. This can be accomplished with a recliner or a couple of pillows or towels beneath your ankles.
Who Is a Good Candidate for This Treatment?
A good candidate for this treatment is an adult who wishes to remove large varicose veins from his or her body and is otherwise fairly healthy. This treatment is most often used to remove varicose veins from the legs because varicose veins elsewhere are rarely large enough for this to be an appropriate treatment.
While most people are good candidates for this treatment, it’s important to come in for an initial consultation. This provides us with the opportunity to assess the scope of the problem and determine if the varicose veins are large and twisted enough for this to be the appropriate treatment. It also provides us with the opportunity to determine if you are healthy enough for this treatment.
Who Isn’t a Good Candidate for This Treatment?
The most common reason you may be a poor candidate for this treatment is if you are pregnant or nursing. You may also be a poor candidate if you have nursed or been pregnant within the past three months.
Alternatives to This Treatment
While this treatment is safe and effective, it’s not right for everyone. If you’re not a good candidate for this treatment, you may be a better candidate for an alternative varicose vein treatment, such as venous ablation, compression stockings, or sclerotherapy.
Compression stockings aren’t a direct answer to vein removal, but they may be a viable alternative to treat your varicose veins. They are typically prescribed to women who are pregnant and individuals who have developed varicose veins to treatable medical conditions, such as hypertension and obesity.
If you have varicose veins due to a temporary condition, ask us about a prescription for compression stockings. Getting prescription-strength compression garments is important because compression garments you can buy at your local pharmacy are not strong enough to treat your varicose veins effectively.
How Compression Garments Work
Compression garments work by providing you with a significant amount of pressure at your extremities. The compression starts at your ankles and lessens gradually up your leg.
They are effective because varicose veins cause symptoms, such as itching, swelling, skin discoloration, discomfort, and pain, because blood is struggling to reach your heart. Compression garments provide enough pressure to support your struggling veins in getting your blood back to your heart. This keeps the blood from pooling towards your extremities.
Venous ablation is a laser-based varicose vein treatment that uses the heat from laser light to destroy the walls of the diseased veins. Once the venous walls collapse in on themselves, the blood has to find a new path up to your heart.
As soon as your treatment session ends, your blood finds a new path back to your heart through veins that are not diseased. This relieves your symptoms nearly instantly. However, your varicose veins will still be visible for several weeks after your session. It takes this long for your collapsed veins to be absorbed by surrounding tissues.
Sclerotherapy is one of our most popular varicose vein treatments. This quick, effective treatment can destroy all but the largest, most twisted varicose veins in a single session. The largest varicose veins require only two sessions.
During this treatment, a chemical solution, known as a sclerosant, is injected into the walls of diseased veins. The sclerosant irritates the venous walls until they collapse in on themselves. This incredibly convenient, effective treatment takes only 15 to 30 minutes, causes no pain or discomfort and requires no downtime.
Good Candidates for Sclerotherapy
The best candidate for sclerotherapy is an individual who is between the ages of 30 and 60, has realistic expectations regarding the treatment and results, is not pregnant (and has not been pregnant within the past three months), and can wait several weeks to see the final results of treatment.
Learn More About Varicose Vein Removal Today
Phlebectomy is a convenient, effective treatment for varicose vein removal. Lasting only 30 to 60 minutes, this technique can eliminate varicose veins in just one session. To determine if this is the right varicose vein treatment for you, please contact us today at Commonwealth Vein Center in Colonial Heights, VA to book an initial evaluation.