The objective of the conservative approach in treating chronic venous disease is to help support the venous circulation of the legs in order to slow the development of new veins and to minimize symptoms. Conservative treatment methods will not treat the underlying problems, but they do help slow the progression of the disease and alleviate symptoms such as swelling and pain and can help prevent new problems from developing.
If your symptoms are caused by DVT, blood thinners (anticoagulation) may be necessary to prevent more clots from forming. Your doctor will discuss which medications are appropriate for you.
Graduated compression stockings can relieve symptoms and improve your quality of life. Appropriate stocking use can encourage wound healing as well.
Ablation is performed in the office as a minimally invasive method for treating reflux in the saphenous veins. Under ultrasound guidance, a tiny catheter is inserted directly into the vein. The catheter uses radio frequency energy to heat the inside of the vein wall. This causes the vein to seal shut. This procedure is performed through a small nick in the skin and local anesthesia. The patient walks out of the office and may return to his or her normal daily routine within 24 hours. This technique can be combined with ambulatory phlebectomy for the treatment of ropy varicose veins. You will continue to wear compression stockings after this procedure to encourage wound healing and to control edema.
Chronically narrowed or occluded veins can be opened using a combination of techniques. These procedures are performed in the hospital. You will be sedated. A catheter will be placed in a vein in your thigh. Using x-rays as our guide, we can often open the closed veins. Sometimes, a balloon will be placed in the vein and inflated, to stretch open the narrowed vein. Often, we will place a small metal stent in the vein to hold it open. You may have some aching in you low back, thigh or groin after this procedure. We usually can mange these symptoms with over the counter medications. Usually patients will be advised to take a blood thinner after the procedure. Your doctor will discuss the options with you at the time of your procedure.