If you’ve ever researched varicose vein treatments, you’ll probably know quite a lot. However, some lesser-known procedural facts are rarely mentioned or are unexpected.
In this post, we’ll talk about six of these little-known truths so you can make a fully informed decision about your treatment options.
So, let’s get started.
Fact #1 – Varicose vein treatments can have delayed side effects
Treatment for varicose veins can come with various side effects. These include swelling, bruising, redness and aches. While these symptoms are commonplace throughout many surgical and non-surgical treatments, people might not realize that, with varicose vein procedures, many of these side effects won’t kick in immediately. Instead, they can take a few days to develop.
The good news is that modern sealing treatments like VenaSeal and Sclerotherapy are low-risk, meaning you can effectively and easily manage your symptoms using a combination of gentle exercise, compression stockings and over-the-counter medications.
Fact #2 – Laser and radiofrequency treatments can trigger temporary sensations
Patients opting for Endovenous Laser Varicose Vein Surgery (ELVS) or Radiofrequency Vein Ablation may feel a surprising sensation post-surgery. That’s a feeling of tightness or pulling along the length of the treated vein. This feeling is particularly prominent, particularly if your doctor has treated the inner thigh’s saphenous vein, and may last a few days or weeks.
The good news is that this is the body’s natural healing response, so if you do feel any strange sensations, you’ll know you’re on the mend. Put simply, the treatment shortens the vein after it’s sealed via thermal energy, making the area around it feel tighter than usual. Once your body fully absorbs the dead vein, any discomfort will cease.
Fact #3 – Skin darkening after sclerotherapy
When varicose vein treatments such as sclerotherapy are carried out, it can trigger a darkening of the skin (hyperpigmentation) around the vein area. This condition is also known as iron staining and is believed to be caused by a build-up of iron that naturally congregates around red blood cells. When red blood cells become trapped in a sealed vein, the body starts to absorb them, along with the troublesome vein. If a significant amount of iron-rich blood cells become trapped, you may experience some hyperpigmentation (staining)
In most cases, particularly during endovenous laser treatment, staining isn’t permanent and should disappear within a couple of weeks.
Fact #4 Varicose veins can return after varicose vein treatment
While it’s important to note that many non-surgical treatments have a high success rate, between 95% and 98%, problem veins can return when patients fail to ensure a good and proper recovery.
Therefore it’s important to follow post-operative instructions after varicose vein treatment, including:
- Regular wearing of compression stockings
- Ensuring timely leg elevation
- Gentle walking for 30 minutes per day, and
- Avoiding strenuous exercise or long periods of standing.
Failure to do any or all of the above may result in the return of the problem even after varicose vein treatment.
Fact #5 – You will need to wear compression stockings
Wearing compression stockings continuously for the first 24 hours after varicose vein treatments is essential. After this point, they should be worn during the day and removed during sleep.
Wearing compression stockings, otherwise known as compression therapy, helps improve blood circulation, lessens pain or swelling, and prevents clotting after treatment. Compression therapy also helps with easing any post-treatment bruising and aches. Wearing the correct compression gradient for your condition is crucial for maximum effectiveness. The good news is that your doctor will provide that information, so you don’t need to worry too much.
If you want to know how long you should wear compression stockings, the answer is that treatment type will typically dictate how long you need to undergo compression therapy. Here’s a rough guide to see what you can expect as an example:
- Endovenous vascular vein surgery – Around 4 weeks
- Sclerotherapy – up to two weeks
- Vein stripping and ligation – 2-6 weeks
- VenaSeal treatment – Minimum of two days up to 1-2 weeks
As you can see, wearing compression gear is a requirement and an integral part of limb rehabilitation after most vein treatments, so this is something you should be prepared for. While most people get used to compression therapy, stockings and socks can be challenging to wear initially because their snug fit may make them difficult to put on and take off.
Fact #6 – Not all varicose veins need to be treated
Although varicose veins, spider veins and other venous disorders are medical conditions, they can be asymptomatic. So if you have unsightly varicose veins that aren’t causing discomfort, they don’t always need to be treated.
Instead, if you don’t like how your varicose veins look but aren’t experiencing vein problems, we recommend a mix of compression therapy, gentle exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and a vein-friendly diet. Adopt these factors and see how it goes over time.
If your vein problems worsen or you start to feel uncomfortable, you should probably seek treatment. In any case, we recommend getting a professional opinion and advice.
So there you have it - six lesser-known facts about vein treatments that may surprise you.
Need varicose vein treatment? Contact MINT
At the Midwest Institute of Non-Surgical Therapy (MINT), we provide the latest non-evasive, chairside treatments like vein ablation and sclerotherapy to help people with vascular problems. Book a consultation with Dr Akinwande, our board-certified vascular and interventional radiologist, or call us today at 314-255-2204. Choose one our our convenient locations based in St Louis, MO and Wentzville, MO and Swansea, IL, Evergreen Park, IL and Chicago, IL.