New Less Invasive Varicose Vein Treatment is Here
By Daniel J. Kase, M.D.
For those who suffer from varicose veins-up to 25 percent of all women and 18 percent of all men-there’s a relatively new, minimally-invasive procedure available in northwest Connecticut. As Litchfield County’s only fellowship-trained interventional radiologist, I am pleased to be able to offer this minimally invasive outpatient procedure to our community. We are offering this service at Advanced Medical Imaging located in our new outpatient facility at the Hungerford Diagnostic Center, 220 Kennedy Drive, Torrington, CT.
We all know what varicose veins look like: those ropy, bluish bulging veins that can cause pain, swelling, bruising and aching, and occasionally, can even burst. Varicose veins are most often caused by the failure of valves within the greater saphenous vein, a major vein that connects to many other veins in the legs. When valves in the greater saphenous vein fail, blood flows backwards (a condition called “reflux”) and transmits pressure down the leg to other veins. When blood pools in veins close to the surface of the skin, varicose veins are the result.
Greater saphenous vein reflux is quite common. Heredity, gender and age are common causes of varicose veins. The traditional surgical treatment called “stripping” requires general anesthesia, two weeks of immobility and pain, and at least a month of recovery time. Unfortunately, there is also significant risk for substantial nerve and tissue damage with this surgery.
Now, however, I can offer area residents a vastly improved procedure: endovenous laser treatment or EVLT. While the goal of EVLT is the same-elimination of the greater saphenous vein and rerouting of blood flow to healthy veins-the method is very different. Using only a local anesthetic, a catheter is thread through a tiny incision near the knee, up the greater saphenous vein and to the groin. Once the catheter is in place a laser fiber is inserted into the catheter and delivers laser energy to close the walls of the vein, stopping the flow of blood. The entire procedure takes from 30 to 45 minutes and the patient walks out of the office, facing essentially no recovery period at all. Not only is EVLT quicker, less invasive and less painful then surgical stripping, it’s actually more effective. Ninety to 95 percent of EVLT patients gain immediate and lasting relief from varicose vein symptoms. Not surprisingly, the streamlined EVLT procedure also costs less, one-tenth the cost of surgical stripping, and it is covered by most major insurers.
In summary, EVLT is a quick, comfortable, inexpensive, less invasive, more effective solution for varicose veins and it is available here in Torrington. If you have questions or would like to set up a consultation for varicose vein disease, please call Advanced Medical Imaging or Dr. Daniel Kase at 860-489-7314.