Having varicose veins can be painful, and they can lead to more serious problems. And who wants to have those telltale blue lines twisting along your legs? That’s why vein closure is such a great option for people who want to get rid of their varicose veins and get back to having clear skin. Coastal Vein Care, in CA’s beautiful neighborhood of Corona Del Mar in Newport Beach, is the premier option for all your vein needs.
Before we learn about what makes RFA vein closure so effective, it’s important that we understand more about what varicose veins are and how they work.
Why Do Varicose Veins Form?
Varicose veins are twisted veins that are enlarged and visible through the skin. They are caused by increased blood pressure in the veins. Blood flows from the heart through the body and back to the heart again through one-way valves in the veins. When the valves become weakened, blood can collect in the veins, causing the veins to become enlarged.
These veins most commonly happen in the legs because sitting, standing and walking causes blood to pool in the leg veins, increasing the pressure within the vein. The veins can then stretch from increased pressure, which can weaken the walls of the veins and damage the valves.
What are the Risk Factors?
There are some common risk factors that make developing varicose veins more likely.
The risk of developing varicose veins increases with age because aging causes wear and tear on your body, including the valves in your veins that help to regulate the flow of blood.
While anyone can develop varicose veins, women are more likely to do so. Female hormones have a tendency to relax vein walls, so pregnancy, menopause, and hormone treatments like birth control can increase the risk of developing varicose veins.
While you’re pregnant, the volume of blood in your body increases to support the needs of the fetus. However, having more blood volume can lead to enlarged veins in the legs.
Having family members with varicose veins increases your risk of developing them.
Carrying extra weight around can increase the pressure on your veins and lead to varicose veins.
Standing or sitting for long periods of time can increase your risk of developing varicose veins because it doesn’t encourage effective blood flow.
What are the Symptoms?
Most people choose to have vein ablation for aesthetic purposes, but varicose veins can also be painful. People who have varicose veins might see color changes in the skin or experience sores on the legs. You might experience itching around the veins or an achy heavy feeling, burning, throbbing, muscle cramping, and swelling in your lower legs. That pain might be worse after you have been sitting or standing for a long time.
Can There Be Complications?
Although varicose veins are generally not dangerous, there can be complications if they aren’t treated.
Ulcers may form near varicose veins on top of the skin. They are most likely to form near the ankles and can be quite painful. Usually, you will notice a discolored spot on the skin before an ulcer forms. If you think you may be developing an ulcer, it’s important that you see a doctor immediately.
Persistent leg pain or swelling may indicate a blood clot. This is a medical condition knows as thrombophlebitis. If you have a blood clot, you will notice leg swelling, redness, pain, and tenderness to the vein or leg that has been affected. If you notice these symptoms, seek help immediately.
Sometimes, varicose veins that are very close to the skin may burst, which can cause minor bleeding and should be attended to by a medical professional.
What About Prevention?
There is no way to completely prevent varicose veins, and if you already have them, you won’t be able to get rid of them without vein closure. However, you can reduce your risk of developing them or developing more of them. And if you already have varicose veins, using these preventative measures can help to reduce the pain.
You can help prevent varicose veins or reduce the pain of already formed ones by getting some exercise and keeping a healthy weight. You can also eat a high-fiber and low-salt diet. Avoiding high heels and tight hosiery can help. too. You can reduce your chances of developing them by changing your sitting or standing position regularly, not crossing your legs while you sit, and elevating your legs when you can.
What is RFA Vein Closure?
Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) is an effective and minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins. It uses radiofrequency or laser energy to ablate the varicose veins, meaning it uses heat to close them.
How Does the Treatment Work?
The treatment is performed by a specially trained medical professional and is usually done on an outpatient basis.
RFA includes the use of an ultrasound machine with a transducer, a catheter, a radiofrequency electrode or laser fiber, and a console. The transducer is a small hand-held device that resembles a microphone. It sends out inaudible, high-frequency sound waves into the body, then listens for the returning echoes. It’s a process very similar to the sonar used by boats.
The medical professional will apply a small amount of gel to the area with the varicose vein that is being treated, then place the transducer against the skin. The gel allows for the sound waves to travel back and forth between the transducer and the area of your body being treated, which creates an ultrasound image. The medical professional uses this image to guide the treatment.
The catheter is a long, thin tube made of plastic. It’s about 1/8 of an inch in diameter and is small enough to travel through your veins. The laser fibers and radiofrequency electrodes are long, thin wires that can carry energy into the body from external generators.
Before having the vein ablation, you will meet with your doctor to have a consultation. You will want to tell them about any medications you take, including over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements. If you are taking aspirin, blood thinners, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), your doctor might tell you to stop before the treatment. You’ll also want to let your doctor know if you have any allergies or have had any bad experiences with a local anesthetic, general anesthetic, or contrast materials.
On the day of the treatment, you’ll want to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. You’ll need to remove all the clothing and jewelry that are in the area being treated, and you may be asked to wear a gown so the doctor can more easily locate and treat the veins you have discussed. You will want to make sure you have someone available to drive you home after treatment.
Before the treatment begins, a medical professional will start by applying a numbing cream to the area being treated. After using the ultrasound transducer to create an image of the varicose vein, the doctor will make a very small incision at the site.
They will use guidance from the ultrasound to insert a catheter through the skin and position it inside of the varicose vein. Then, they will insert the electrode or fiber through the catheter. Once everything is in the correct position, the doctor will expose the tip of the electrode or fiber by pulling the catheter back slightly.
A local anesthetic will be injected around the varicose vein with guidance from the ultrasound. Then, the energy heats up the vein as the catheter is withdrawn. After the fiber and catheter are withdrawn from the vein, pressure is applied to prevent any bleeding, and the small incision will be bandaged.
What Makes RFA Vein Closure So Effective?
When it comes to dealing with varicose veins, RFA is the best option. When the abnormal vein is treated with heat, the vein closes off. Scar tissue forms as a reaction to the heat, and blood can no longer pass through the ablated vein. This allows the blood to be routed to the healthier surrounding veins that can more effectively get the blood back to the heart.
So many people choose this treatment for varicose veins because it’s far more effective than other options. It is minimally invasive and doesn’t need a surgical incision: just a small cut in the skin that doesn’t need any stitches. RFA is safe and free of complications, and it leaves virtually no scars. After the treatment, patients report immediate symptom relief and are able to get back to their normal activities immediately, with little to no pain.
Whether you are experiencing pain, achiness, and the other unfortunate symptoms of varicose veins, or if you simply do not like the appearance of those large, blue veins on your legs, you can benefit from vein closure. It’s far more effective than any of the alternative treatments, and it’s easy, fast, and gives you immediate results. If you have any questions regarding vein ablation or would like to schedule a consultation, contact us at Coastal Vein Care in Corona Del Mar, CA.