Approximately 25 million Americans are affected by varicosities of some sort. A varicose vein corresponds to the permanent dilatation of a superficial vein in the lower limbs. The problem is not only aesthetic: it is also a medical issue, especially since untreated varix can be at the origin of various complications. One of the most known (and the most painful) is a leg ulcer.
Foam-guided sclerotherapy is done in the doctor’s office. The angiologist injects a sclerosing foam using a catheter in the varicose vein while controlling what happens inside the vein, thanks to ultrasound. This method has the double advantage of being visible on ultrasound and destroying the inner lining of the diseased vein.
Most often, a single injection is enough. A dressing is laid for 24 to 48 hours, but it is possible to go home after the session and even drive. The principle is the same with the other two existing endovenous techniques.
But, instead of chemically burning the diseased vein with foam, this time, the angiologist causes a thermal burn by laser or radiofrequency. Simple local anesthesia is enough and again, it’s very fast (one session). The only downside is that these two methods are not fully covered by most insurance policies.
The surgical techniques used on varicose veins have significantly evolved in recent years. Also, they are supported by Social Security. Doctors use to operate as late as possible, removing the saphenous vein. But experts now know that this is counter-productive.
Thanks to 3D imaging, experts have made enough progress in the modeling of veins and the understanding of venous diseases to propose minimally invasive surgery, under local anesthesia, targeting only the small or small collateral veins. This is done in the initial stages of the disease because saphenous reflux is reversible. And the results are there: two hours after the intervention; many patients can walk on their own.
Even if it is only used in an experimental setting or to teach anatomy to students, this 3D imaging could be better developed in the coming years. This can help specialists refine their diagnosis, especially in the case of complicated venous diseases. Indeed, venous disease continues to evolve on its own which means that treating varicose veins should also evolve.