We’ve been helping people with vein issues look and feel better since 2010, and it’s always been our mission to educate folks about vein disease and how, left untreated, it can lead to painful and often debilitating conditions. Needless to say, we love it when we get some help getting this message out – like the article we came across in the August 2016 issue of Prevention magazine.
Titled “Problem Solved. Varicose Veins” — this article hits on some common causes of varicose veins for women – like the hormonal changes of menopause and aging, plus information about some tried-and-true treatments, “surprising solutions” (natural & unconventional remedies), and “what’s next” – new and noteworthy treatments. All good things.
Dr. Hamilton reviewed the article, and we would like to share his thoughts on what was reported about this all-too-often misdiagnosed and under-treated medical condition that affects nearly 50% of the population over 50 and, when left untreated, can often lead to debilitating conditions like leg ulcers and skin changes.
Tried and True Treatments
When it comes to treating conditions brought on by vein disease – like varicose and spider veins, the go-to methods are sclerotherapy, compression therapy and endovenous thermal ablation. This article gives accurate information on all three ‘tried-and-true’ remedies.
Readers are informed about the benefits of sclerotherapy treatment – that it is an outpatient procedure that eliminates spider veins and small varicose veins. At Hamilton Vein Center, we perform two types of sclerotherapy – foam and liquid. Compression socks and stockings (compression therapy) are great pain and swelling relievers. We recommend compression therapy for all patients who need relief while waiting for insurance approvals and/or a vein treatment. Compression therapy is also an important part of post-treatment recovery – speeding the healing process.
And, finally, long-gone are the days of painful vein stripping. Today’s gold standard for treating larger surface veins is endovenous thermal ablation – or as we call it at HVC, radiofrequency ablation (RFA). HVC vein specialists use image-guidance to insert a very small catheter into the vein and pinpoint the exact location of the diseased area. Heat is then delivered to that area, collapsing the vein. Blood that has given off its oxygen is rerouted to the deep veins, which are very effective in getting blood out of the legs and up to the heart and lungs – where blood receives a nice, fresh blast of oxygen. Closing the vein and re-routing the blood keeps it from pooling in the veins that don’t work. This is what brings relief — and improves skin color and texture, leg ulcers and other conditions. Near-immediate relief and a high-efficacy rate make this treatment a favorite amongst vein specialists and patients alike.
The main thing Dr. Hamilton wanted to point out in this section is that the only true solution for bad veins is to have them treated with a minimally invasive procedure that’s designed to tackle your specific vein issue. The Prevention article is correct in saying that exercise, bioflavonoids and horse chestnut are terrific ways to improve blood flow, relieve swelling and strengthen vein walls – but most of the time, if you have diagnosed vein disease, it will progress and you will need minimally invasive intervention to stop it!
What’s Next? New & Noteworthy Options
As leaders in today’s vein treatments, HVC embraces the latest technologies and is often asked to participate in clinical trials. The Prevention article mentions three notable, new treatments – VenaSeal, MOCA and TIPP. (You can see that vein treatment folks like their acronyms!)
Dr. Hamilton had positive things to say about all three of these treatments as far as patient comfort and overall success rates – with the most noteworthy drawback being that, because they are so new and studies are still being performed (for efficacy, etc), they are either not covered by most insurance and/or take time to get insurance approval. Basically, they just need to prove themselves and gain some traction and acceptance by more vein treatment doctors and insurance companies. That said, as new treatments become available – it opens up a greater range of treatment options for patients. Which is, of course, great news.
VenaSeal – This is the only approved method of closing veins that doesn’t entail using heat or sclerosants. Instead, vein specialists use an adhesive (think superglue) and apply pressure to close the vein. Best part – you don’t have to wear compression stockings afterwards! Worst part – not covered by insurance yet.
MOCA – Despite sounding like a latte-inspired treatment, MOCA actually stands for “mechanochemical ablation” where via a special infusion catheter the vein’s lining is agitated with a rotating wire tip and sealed with a liquid sclerosant. Dr. Hamilton gives a big thumbs up to this procedure. It’s fast, effective but takes time to get approval. He was even asked to be a part of a treatment study made up of a multi-center group of vein specialists. Study the study here (and impress your friends with your MOCA vein treatment knowledge).
TIPP – the best “tip” Dr. Hamilton can give you about ‘transilluminated powered phlebectomy’ – is to understand that this is a very new procedure, utilizing fiber-optic light to illuminate vessels and extract them with a special surgical tool. This procedure allows doctors to remove larger clusters of varicose veins without harming circulation. Again, it’s the new-treatment-on-the-block, so not widely available yet. But another “one to watch.”
The August issue of Prevention is on newsstands now. This monthly publication is a great healthy lifestyle magazine – and is also available online at prevention.com. We highly recommend it! Thank you, Prevention, for helping to spread the news about vein issues and the number of ways to keep them healthy and in check!
If you have any leg pain, discoloration, swollen, texture changes, or noticeable varicose veins, come in so we can take a look and see if vein disease is to blame.
Houston 281.565.0033 | San Antonio 210.504.4304 | Austin 512.551.1403