(MINOT, ND) – People with spider veins or small varicose veins have a smart new option available for treating the unsightly and sometimes painful vessels.
Trinity Health Interventional Cardiologist Samir Turk, MD, FACC, and nurse practitioner Leah Brewster, DNP-C, have added sclerotherapy to their array of vascular services.
Often considered the treatment of choice for small varicose veins, sclerotherapy involves injecting a special solution into a troublesome vein. The solution causes the vein to become sclerotic or hardened so the blood no longer flows through it.
Brewster says that she and Dr. Turk have been offering the procedure for about a year, and it has proven to be beneficial to people with mild to moderate vein issues. IR and Derm
‘A lot of patients we’ve been seeing aren’t necessarily candidates for more aggressive treatments, but they’re still looking for some kind of solution. Sclerotherapy has been a good option for these patients. We basically inject a solution into the vein and the vein goes away.’
According to Brewster, sclerotherapy is often done for cosmetic purposes to improve the appearance of varicose and spider veins. It also can improve related symptoms such as aching, swelling, burning or night cramps. Those who undergo the treatment as a cosmetic procedure must pay out of pocket, but if the purpose is to relieve symptoms some insurance coverage may be possible.
‘People interested in sclerotherapy may self-refer,’ Brewster explains. ‘We visit about symptoms, do a physical exam and generally evaluate the involved veins, checking for any underlying blood vessel disease. Depending on the results of the evaluation, an ultrasound may be needed to check for venous insufficiency.’
Sclerotherapy is typically performed in a doctor’s office without anesthesia. The procedure usually takes less than an hour to complete. During the procedure patients are positioned to gain access to the affected area. After cleansing the area to be treated with alcohol, a provider uses a fine needle to slowly insert a solution into the appropriate vein. Patients are able to get up and move around right after the procedure. Compression stockings are recommended for up to two weeks following the treatment. Most people return to their normal activities on the same day.
‘After sclerotherapy, treated veins tend to fade within a few weeks, although it could take weeks to months to see the full results,’ Brewster added. ‘In some instances multiple treatments may be required, depending on the number and size of veins being treated.’
About 50 to 55 percent of American women and 40 to 45 percent of American men suffer from vein issues. Almost 80 million Americans have spider or varicose veins. Varicose veins can affect anyone. Gender and increasing age for both men and women are key factors that may increase a person’s risk for developing the disease. Other risk factors include family history of varicose veins, obesity, multiple pregnancies, and occupations that require prolonged standing.
Interventional Radiologist Naidu, DO, Dermatologist Jennifer Hunter, MD, and Ann Welch, FNP-C, a nurse practitioner specializing in Dermatology, also offer the procedure.Trinity Health offers a comprehensive program to address all types of vascular issues, including Venefitô Targeted Endovenous Therapy ñ a minimally invasive treatment that uses radiofrequency (RF) energy ñ an even and uniform source of heat ñ to ablate or vaporize larger varicose veins and veins that are afflicted with chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).
For further information, contact the Trinity Health Cardiology, Dermatology or Interventional Radiology departments at 701-857-5000.