When your leg vein valves are weak, damaged, or dysfunctional, they can’t keep blood moving efficiently toward your heart. This common problem — known as venous insufficiency — is the main underlying cause of large varicose veins as well as smaller spider veins.
Our skilled team of vascular experts at Somerset Surgical Associates, LLC in Somerset, New Jersey, provides comprehensive care, including vein ablation treatments, for people affected by chronic venous insufficiency and problematic varicose veins. Here’s what you should know.
Your veins return deoxygenated blood back to your heart and lungs, where it can pick up fresh oxygen and nutrients and make another trip around your body. They contain one-way valves to help them keep blood flowing in the right direction efficiently.
Venous insufficiency happens when the valves in your leg veins are too weak or damaged to function normally. Instead of flowing through them as it should, blood pools behind these dysfunctional valves and puts pressure on the vessel wall. Over time, this makes the affected area of your vein swell and contort.
When the problem persists, it’s called chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). CVI affects as many as two in five adults in the United States at any given time.
Anyone can develop CVI, but it’s most common among middle-aged and older adults, women (especially those who’ve had multiple pregnancies), overweight people, and those who sit or stand still for long periods. Early CVI symptoms include:
CVI is often manageable with the right self-care strategies. Without treatment, however, it tends to progress and worsen over time, becoming more painful and sometimes disabling.
As CVI worsens, it can give rise to two major complications: varicose veins and venous ulcers. Such complications are so common in moderate to severe CVI cases that they’re widely regarded as later-stage symptoms of the condition. Let’s take a closer look:
When blood repeatedly pools behind a one-way leg vein valve, it creates a partial blockage that puts increased pressure on the surrounding vessel wall. Over time, this causes the vein to swell, stretch, twist, and contort — or become rope-like and varicose.
Continuous increased vein pressure can also cause fluid buildup (leg swelling) that leads to the development of an open sore called a venous ulcer. Usually appearing on the lower leg or ankle, these slow-healing sores happen when fluid buildup stops nutrients and oxygen from reaching skin tissue. As the deprived cells die, the damaged tissues form a wound.
When CVI appears to be advancing, treatment is the best way to prevent complications. In most cases, this means addressing problematic varicose veins. Here at Somerset Surgical Associates, LLC, our vascular experts offer a full scope of treatment options for difficult varicose veins. One of the most effective solutions is endovenous ablation, also known as venous ablation.
Venous ablation can be done in several ways: With laser energy (endovenous laser ablation), a chemical sclerosing agent (endovenous chemical ablation), or with radiofrequency (RF) energy (endovenous RF ablation). Our team uses venous RF ablation for its minimal risk of side effects and high rate of success.
RF venous ablation is a thermal technique that uses targeted heat energy to close a problematic varicose vein. It’s especially useful for treating superficial venous reflux, or varicose veins that have become swollen, cramped, and painful.
As with other forms of venous ablation, the central goal of RF ablation is to seal off and collapse the damaged vein, so your blood flow redirects through normal, healthy veins.
To perform RF ablation, our team uses ultrasound imaging to guide an ultra-thin catheter into the unwanted vein through a tiny incision. This specialized catheter delivers controlled heat to the vessel wall, causing it to contract and collapse.
Then, we slowly withdraw the catheter, causing the damaged vein to seal itself shut and forcing your blood flow to reroute itself to healthy vessels immediately. Before you leave our office, we confirm complete vein closure with a final ultrasound.
To learn more about venous ablation treatments at Somerset Surgical Associates, LLC in Somerset, New Jersey, call 908-725-2400 today, or use the quick online booking feature to schedule a visit with one of our seasoned vascular specialists any time.