Laser Treatment for Healthier Legs
One aspect of Colorado living that stands out is how spring fever quickly gives way to summer heat waves. It seems you barely scrape the mud from your gardening boots and—boom!—it’s time for shorts and sandals.
If you have leg vein issues, however, you may feel self-conscious about showing your legs in warm weather. That’s why you should consider getting medical attention now. Besides creating cosmetic concerns, venous disease can sideline you from summer activities when it causes leg pain, swelling and decreased athletic performance. Fortunately, venous disease treatment is usually covered by insurance, so there’s no need to procrastinate.
Even better news: If you suffer from venous disease, there are many ways to alleviate symptoms without a medical procedure. If medical intervention is required, however, you’ll be glad to know today’s procedures are well-tolerated and less invasive than past treatments, and recovery times are shorter than ever. But how do you know which path is right for you? A vein specialist can help you avoid unnecessary interventions.
First Things First: See a Specialist
Venous disease presents itself in a variety of ways. Varicose veins or venous insufficiency can be defined broadly as dilated and diseased veins that result in reverse blood flow. They can eventually appear as visibly “ropey” varicosities, causing swelling, aching, skin changes and possibly bleeding. Some varicosities are easy to see right on the surface—they look like ropes under your skin. This is what most people think about when they think of leg vein issues.
The other kind of varicosity, however, is just under the surface of the skin and can only be seen by ultrasound. If a vein is diseased, whether you can see it or not, it can cause symptoms from reverse blood flow. There is a simple, minimally invasive procedure to treat diseased veins, but before undergoing any procedure, you should first try non-invasive treatment.
At Artemis Colorado—Vein & Cosmetic Center we offer free consultations, so let’s talk and we do have the background to give you the right advice. In general we recommend that anyone diagnosed with vein conditions do at least a three-month trial of wearing compression stockings with a minimum pressure of 12 to 18 mmHg. Many patients find that compression stockings improve symptoms so much that further treatment is not necessary.
Next Steps: Exercise or Ablation
When compression stockings don’t work well, there are other options. These include weight reduction to a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or less, and leg elevation. Calf-pump muscle exercises—designed to improve muscle strength and ankle flexibility—are also important. Your doctor can show you which exercises work best.
When these measures don’t provide relief, the next step may be endovenous laser ablation. The procedure name is a mouthful, but it’s actually a gentle way to fix a serious problem. We know many people put off treating their veins because they think it’s a messy and painful procedure, but nothing could be further from the truth. Today’s treatment involves a laser that causes minimal discomfort, offers a quick recovery, and has a complication rate less than 1%. If your doctor prescribes this treatment, you will be surprised at how easy it is.
On the day of the procedure you can eat a light meal. Medication for pain and anxiety is offered, but most patients don’t take anything and go about their day after the procedure. That’s because the method is minimally invasive: A special ultrasound machine helps the doctor visualize the vein and the skin is marked for access. Using local anesthesia, fluid is gently injected under the skin, making the procedure painless. A small hollow needle is inserted into the vein and a laser fiber is inserted through the needle along the length of the vein. The laser is turned on and the length of the vein is ablated as the fiber is pulled back.
At Artemis Colorado—Vein & Cosmetic Center, we use the state-of-the-art CoolTouch™ laser because it is the best. The instrument gets its name from its unique properties. This laser targets water molecules and creates less heat than other machines, hence the “cool touch.” We are able to achieve success with less pain, less bruising, and faster recovery than any other laser available.
Recovery and a Healthier Summer
After laser treatment, compression stockings are worn for 48 hours straight. Normal activity can be resumed immediately, but we don’t recommend strenuous exercise. Some mild bruising and pain is to be expected, but that is part of the healing process. Most patients only require some ibuprofen for pain. Compression stockings are worn during the day for two additional weeks. After that, you are free to enjoy a more active summer with confidence and healthier, smoother legs!
Colorado offers four wonderful seasons for being outdoors. Make sure you get to enjoy all of them! If you have vein issues, seen or unseen, come see us for a free consultation and learn which treatment option will put you back on the path to health and freedom.
Curious? See some vein before and after pictures here!