What Are the Minimally Invasive Treatment Options in 2023?
Vein medicine is a rapidly evolving field with new treatment options in continual development. In prior generations, surgery was commonly recommended for varicose veins. But new technology allows vein doctors to treat varicose veins without surgery most of the time. The top vein specialists can now use hollow needles or catheters to deliver thermal energy, sclerosants, adhesives, or mechanical disruption to the walls of the vein. These tools are inserted through the skin, so they can treat larger, deeper veins, as well as the cause of the damage, not just the veins you see at the surface.
Book an appointment with our Harvard-trained vein doctors in New Jersey to ask, “How can I get rid of varicose veins without surgery?”. You’ll be surprised by the wealth of our minimally invasive treatment options and our ability to customize vein treatments. Our vein specialists are highly trained in techniques like sclerotherapy (Asclera), radiofrequency ablation (VNUS Closure), endovenous laser treatment (VenaCure), mechanochemical ablation (ClariVein), and vein adhesives (VenaSeal). They’ll conduct a medical exam and map your veins with ultrasound, if needed, to select the right treatment for you.
Is Ambulatory Phlebectomy Better Than Traditional Surgery?
In addition to non-surgical methods like those listed above, there are also less invasive surgical options available to patients in 2023. One such procedure is ambulatory phlebectomy. One key difference between ambulatory phlebectomy and traditional phlebectomy is that the former does not use general or spinal anesthesia, while the latter often does.
Eliminating general anesthesia from surgery prevents risks of anesthetic complications and also reduces the cost, procedural time, and recovery time. The second difference between the two surgeries is that ambulatory phlebectomy uses small punctures, while traditional surgery uses wide incisions. Punctures don’t require stitches and are less prone to bleeding, swelling, pain, bruising, and infection.
A third difference is that ambulatory phlebectomy allows the patient to remain awake and walk around right after the procedure. Some patients can even drive themselves to and from the appointment, depending on the extent of veins being treated and the amount of local anesthesia that’s used.
However, ambulatory phlebectomy remains a more invasive procedure than tactics like sclerotherapy and radiofrequency ablation. That’s because phlebectomies cut and remove the vein from the body, while minimally invasive treatments destroy the vein within the body. The risk profiles and recovery time are superior with the least invasive methods, so ask your vein doctor if you are eligible for non-surgical procedures.
Has Laser Treatment Replaced Vein Surgery?
Lasers are used in many different ways to treat blood vessels. Historically, most laser treatments were performed at the surface of the skin to fade facial spider veins or broken capillaries. But new, endovenous laser treatments can be applied directly to the vein walls, making them suitable for large or deep varicose veins as well. Heating a large or deep vein through the surface of the skin would require a level of heat that would harm the skin. Endovenous lasers protect the skin by working directly on the vein.
Vein doctors insert a tiny catheter through the skin and inject tumescent anesthesia to protect the area around the blood vessel. Then, they thread a laser fiber through the catheter and place it on the vein. They activate the fiber which heats the vein, prompting it to close. Blood flows into nearby veins, and the treated vein is absorbed by the body. Endovenous laser treatment has replaced surgery for many patients. It can eliminate varicose veins, as well as the causative issue, like weak valves in the veins. Endovenous laser ablation is just one of the treatments that’s now considered before surgery. Other vein treatment options like sclerotherapy, radiofrequency ablation, and vein adhesives also prevent surgery for many patients.
Are Vascular Surgeons Still Needed for Varicose Vein Removal?
While varicose vein surgery is no longer a first line of treatment, vascular surgeons are still in high demand for specific blood vessels. They operate on patients whose veins contain blood clots or tortuosity that prevents minimally invasive devices from safely navigating the vein. But more commonly, they treat other blood vessels like arteries.
Vascular surgeons are necessary for things like Peripheral Artery Disease, aortic arterial aneurysms, and ruptured arteries. If you have vein issues, rather than arterial issues, choose a minimally invasive vein doctor. Or choose a vascular surgeon who is trained in minimally invasive procedures. Some vascular surgeons are only trained in surgery, so always inquire about their training before booking your appointment.
Does Non-Surgical Treatment Cause Less Pain and Discomfort?
Non-surgical treatments cause significantly less pain and discomfort than traditional surgery. They do not require general anesthesia, and many of the treatments, like sclerotherapy and vein adhesives, don’t even require local anesthesia. The injection sites are quite small, so many patients feel nothing at all, while others might feel a quick pinch or hardening sensation when the vein is closed. There is no significant pain at the injection site, and any bruising or swelling typically subsides within 24 hours.
Do Non-Surgical Methods Treat Chronic Venous Insufficiency?
One of the chief advantages of the latest vein treatments is that they can also treat Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI). This common condition causes frustrating symptoms like varicose veins, spider veins, swelling, cramping, restlessness, fatigue, heaviness, and itching in your legs. Left untreated, it can produce venous stasis dermatitis, venous ulcerations, hyperpigmentation, and profuse bleeding.
Many patients don’t even know they have CVI or that their physical symptoms stem from it. In the past, vascular surgeons often removed the vein without finding the cause. Now, vein doctors use Duplex and Doppler Ultrasound to locate broken valves in the veins that cause Chronic Venous Insufficiency. Many of the latest minimally invasive vein treatment options can resolve vein damage and CVI with the same device.
Do Doctors Still Advise You to Wear Compression Stockings?
With the latest vein treatments, many patients no longer need to wear compression stockings, and others only need them for a few days. Vein doctors can now repair defective veins in 15-30 minutes, eliminating life-long use of compression therapy. In non-surgical procedures, there is less risk of swelling, blood clots, and scar tissue, so compression therapy is less necessary. If you need compression stockings, have the vein doctor select them, since inadequate or excessive compression can be detrimental.
Is a Vein Doctor or Interventional Radiologist Best?
If you’re wondering, “How can I get rid of varicose veins without surgery,” the first step is to visit a minimally invasive vein doctor. These vein specialists are trained in the latest techniques to prevent unnecessary surgery. The best board certified vein doctors use treatments that are FDA-approved and covered by insurance, offering patients low-risk, low-cost procedures.
An interventional radiologist, dermatologist, or cosmetic surgeon might offer surface treatments for veins. But these don’t work on varicose veins in the legs or the Chronic Venous Insufficiency that likely caused them. In addition, cosmetic procedures are rarely covered by insurance. Choose a vein doctor with ultrasound training, since they can provide images that prove your treatment is medically necessary.