Chronic venous disease of the legs is one of the most common conditions affecting people in Minneapolis and St Paul areas. Approximately half of the Minnesota population has venous disease. Of these, 20 to 25% of the women and 10 to 15% of men will have visible varicose veins.
It has been known that varicose veins are caused by weakening of the veins and valves in the legs. When the valves in the veins do not properly keep blood flowing from the legs up to the heart, blood begins to collect in the legs resulting in the buildup of pressure. The veins become enlarged and knotted and are visible near the surface of the skin.
Varicose veins typically appear in the feet, ankles and throughout the legs. They can cause pain, swelling, heaviness, itching and cramps. Most cases in Minnesota do not require immediate medical treatment unless there are serious complications associated with the veins.
Although most cases do not cause discomfort or warrant immediate concern, many people in Minneapolis and St Paul areas are bothered by the unsightly appearance of varicose veins. There are three effective treatment options for varicose veins.
Sclerotherapy is a procedure that uses tiny needles to inject the veins with a chemical sclerant to harden the veins and help them fade away. The treatment lasts about 15 minutes in length and is performed every four weeks. Some patients see satisfactory results within one treatment while others with more severe cases may benefit from more sessions.
Endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) uses a laser fiber to insert through the skin directly into the vein. The laser heats up the lining of the vein causing it to shrink and fade away. This procedure is more commonly used on larger varicose veins and treatment can take less than an hour to perform.
A procedure called a mini phlebectomy may be used in conjunction with other therapies to treat large, bulging varicose veins. Tiny incisions are made into the skin and superficial veins are removed using vein hooks. It is performed under local anesthesia so pain is minimal.