New Minimally Invasive Treatment For Varicose Veins


GallbladderTwenty-four million Americans suffer from varicose veins, yet few seek treatment because they fear that the surgery may be worse than the condition. Not anymore thanks to new minimally invasive surgical technology.

Varicose veins are not only unsightly; they are painful and potentially dangerous. A leg with varicose veins can feel fatigued and heavy and can burn, throb and cramp. If left untreated, the veins can bleed and form large ulcers.

Malfunctioning valves inside the veins create varicose veins. When these valves don't open and close properly, blood can gather in the veins causing them to enlarge. A varicose vein has blood pooling in the vein and not circulating normally. The high blood pressure in these veins is what causes the discomfort.

Traditional methods to treat large varicose veins included the use of support stockings and surgery. Surgery involved stripping the vein (removal of vein under the skin) and up to 30 multiple small incisions. This resulted in significant pain, scarring and a long recovery time. Today, there are new minimally invasive treatment options for varicose veins that result in less pain and a shorter recovery time.

GallbladderOne new treatment method is the Transilluminated Powered Phlebectomy, or Trivex System, which can be done as outpatient surgery. Before surgery, all veins to be treated are marked. The patient is then taken to the operating room and given a general anesthetic. Two small incisions are made in the area of an affected vein. Through one incision, the surgeon inserts a small powerful light under the skin to illuminate the varicose veins. A second incision about a quarter of an inch in length is then used to insert an instrument that cuts and suctions all the unsightly vein fragments, while the surgeon is viewing the vein using the transilluminating light.

The procedure is usually completed in less than one hour. With fewer incisions than the traditional method, there is usually just some bruising and minor discomfort post-operatively. Most patients are encouraged to be active the next day and are back to normal activities within 2-3 weeks. This technology is now available at Oakleaf Surgical Hospital, Eau Claire.