Woodlands Heart and Vascular Institute
Cardiologist & Interventional Cardiologist located in The Woodlands, TX
Most people seek treatment for varicose veins because they want to improve their appearance and eliminate symptoms like aching, painful legs. However, treating your varicose veins also prevents serious complications like nonhealing ulcers. At Woodlands Heart and Vascular Institute, Laura Fernandes, MD, FACC, uses advanced ablation techniques that get rid of your varicose veins without downtime. To learn more about your treatment options, call the office in The Woodlands, Texas, or book an appointment online today.
Varicose Veins Q & A
What causes varicose veins?
As veins carry blood up your legs and back toward your heart, they rely on small one-way valves to keep blood going in one direction. When a valve fails, blood flows backward and accumulates in the vein.
Backward-flowing blood, called venous reflux or venous insufficiency, leads to varicose veins. As blood builds up, the vein becomes enlarged, twisted, and bulges above the skin surface, causing visible dark bluish-purple varicose veins.
What symptoms develop due to varicose veins?
You may not have any symptoms other than visible veins, but many people experience one or more of the following:
- Painful or aching legs
- Swollen legs, feet, and ankles
- Itching around the veins
- Heavy-feeling legs
- Tired legs
- Restless legs
- Skin discoloration
When varicose veins go untreated and venous insufficiency persists, you can develop complications such as deep vein thrombosis, thickened and discolored skin, dermatitis, and venous stasis ulcers.
Venous stasis ulcers appear on your lower leg, usually around your ankle. The ulcer takes a long time to heal, gets progressively larger, and leads to skin and bone infections.
How do interventional cardiologists treat varicose veins?
Dr. Fernandes treats varicose veins in the office using minimally invasive techniques allowing you to return immediately to your normal activities.
After reviewing your medical history and examining your legs, Dr. Fernandes may perform an ultrasound to get a good view of the veins deep in your legs and ensure an accurate diagnosis.
Though Dr. Fernandes uses different treatments, they all work by collapsing the vein walls and sealing the vein. The treated area then turns into scar tissue that your body gradually absorbs, eliminating the varicose vein and venous insufficiency.
Your treatment options include:
Using ultrasound imaging to guide the procedure, Dr. Fernandes inserts a small catheter into the vein and carefully threads it through. She slowly withdraws the catheter while it sends out radiofrequency energy, using gentle, controlled heat to close the vein.
Click the link below to watch the Vein Ablation video
Dr. Fernandes may recommend sclerotherapy for small to moderately sized varicose veins. During sclerotherapy, she injects a medication called a sclerosant into the vein that seals the venous walls.
Endovenous chemical ablation
Dr. Fernandes performs ultrasound-guided endovenous chemical ablation, a procedure in which she injects a sclerosant that turns into a foam. The foam expands to reach all the venous walls, making it an option for large varicose veins.
If you’re ready to eliminate varicose veins, call Woodlands Heart and Vascular Institute or schedule an appointment online today.