Varicose veins are gnarled, enlarged veins caused by a condition called venous insufficiency. While any vein may become varicose, the veins most commonly affected are those in the legs and feet. For many people, varicose veins and spider veins are a cosmetic concern. In others, varicose veins can lead to more serious conditions and complications, including leg pain, swelling in the legs, brown coloring of the skin, inflammation of the veins, blood clots, bleeding, skin ulcers or other circulatory system disorders.
CIRA’s highly skilled interventional radiologists offer a minimally invasive outpatient procedure to treat varicose veins called laser vein ablation. After applying local anesthetic to the vein, a CIRA interventional radiologist inserts a thin catheter, about the size of a strand of spaghetti, into the vein, and guides it up the greater saphenous vein into the thigh. Laser or radiofrequency energy is then applied to the inside of the vein, heating and then sealing the vein closed. By closing the greater saphenous vein, the twisted and varicosed branch veins, which are close to the skin, shrink and improve in appearance. Once the diseased vein is closed, other healthy veins take over to carry blood from the leg, re-establishing normal flow. Laser vein ablation is a quick, effective procedure that involves minimal discomfort. After the procedure, a patient can literally walk out of the office and resume normal activities within 24 hours. Laser vein ablation boasts a 95-percent success rate. Vein mapping by a CIRA interventional radiologist determines if a patient is a candidate for laser vein ablation.