Common Questions About Varicose Vein Treatment

What is Interventional Radiology?

Interventional radiology is a subspecialty of radiology in which both vascular and nonvascular diseases are treated. These minimally invasive procedures use small catheters and catheter-based instruments without the need for large surgical incisions or general anesthesia.

How does the laser treat varicose veins?

Historically, varicose veins have been treated by conservative measures, including:

•   exercise
•   leg elevation
•   compression stockings
•   avoidance of prolonged standing

If unsuccessful and pain persists, a possible next step is vein ablation using a laser. Lasers fix the problem at the source by delivering laser energy to just the right tissue, causing the unhealthy vein to close while your body automatically routes the blood to other veins.

What is the procedure like?

•   With a local anesthetic, the Radiologist inserts a thin laser fiber through an IV utilizing ultrasound guidance.
•   There may be some unfamiliar sensation but, it is not painful.
•   The entry point through which your physician gets the laser fiber to the target area is very small, not even requiring stitches.
•   The procedure may be coupled with sclerotherapy and/or phlebectomy.

How long will the procedure take?

•   Typically about 1-1/2 to 2 hours, but plan on being in the clinic for at least 3 hours.
(Make arrangements for someone to drive you home following this procedure.)

How much discomfort will there be from the procedure?

•   Minimal, in fact, you will be encouraged to get up and walk immediately after the procedure.
•   Limitations include no vigorous physical activity, such as jogging or heavy lifting, for 2 weeks.