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Varicose Vein Treatments Explained

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close up of the back of someone’s legs, with a gloved hand examining the varicose veins

Here at Palm Clinic, we have two modalities that we use to close varicose veins: radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy (UGS). We also have two modalities to treat spider veins: Microsclerotherapy and Exotherme Laser.

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is the gold standard for varicose veins treatment. Research shows it is the most long-lasting and best treatment option. However, it can only be used on sections of the vein where the vessel is long and straight and wide enough to thread the catheter up. We use radiofrequency ablation mainly for treating the proximal great saphenous vein (GSV), the section that runs in the inner thigh, and the upper small saphenous vein (SSV), the section in the upper calf. After your initial consultation with the doctor, you will have an ultrasound map of your veins. This will measure the size of the GSV and SSV to determine if they are suitable for RFA. A local anaesthetic is used to make the procedure painless. The treatment catheter is threaded up the vein under ultrasound guidance. As we retract the catheter, the tip is heated and this heat seals the vein behind it. It is common to have some bruising at the insertion site after RFA.

Ultrasound-guided Sclerotherapy

All veins that are smaller or more convoluted are treated with ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy (UGS). This is done using a medication known as a sclerosant, that can be either liquid or foam. The medicine is injected into the veins under ultrasound guidance, so we can watch exactly where the medication is going. The sclerosant causes inflammation in the vein walls causing them to compress, and close. They are then cleverly reabsorbed by the body over a few months. There is a limit to how much sclerosant or foam we can use safely in one day and this is why treatment is spread over a few days. Using these two techniques together, we are able to close down the incompetent pathways that are not working properly and close varicose veins. Blood is then diverted into the better functioning pathways to be carried back up the leg. The overall effect is an improvement in symptoms associated with varicose veins, such as heaviness, tired or swollen legs or even skin changes such as lower leg eczema or ulcers. You will also see the varicose veins disappear from sight over a few months.

Spider Vein Treatments

The two treatment options for spider veins are Microsclerotherapy and Exotherme Laser. Microsclerotherapy is a similar process to the ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy described above. The main difference is that we use a weaker, more dilute medicine for the spider veins and that we inject the visible spider veins directly, without the use of an ultrasound. On the other hand, the Exotherme laser is very effective when you have a small patch of spider veins that you want to be treated, and are not a fan of needles. With the laser, you do not need injections and you do not need to wear compression socks afterwards. Your Palm Clinic Doctor can discuss with you whether you would be a good candidate for Exotherme.

For professional varicose vein treatment, contact Palm Clinic today

As Auckland’s leading vein clinic, we have a highly skilled and experienced team that will treat you with the utmost care and understanding. Book a consultation today and we can talk you through vein treatment plans to consider.

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Consulatation at Palm Clinic with Dr Sam Dunn

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