Varicose Vein Treatment

Vein disorders affect an estimated 50% of women and 45% of men nationwide. Varicose veins are the most obvious symptom of vein disease, with enlarged veins visibly bulging beneath the skin. They can be quite painful. Fortunately, minimally invasive procedures like endovenous ablation (EVLT) and sclerotherapy can effectively treat the underlying problem, as well as the pain.

A less invasive alternative.

Endovenous ablation uses radiofrequency, or laser energy, to cauterize and close varicose veins in the legs. It may be used for cosmetic purposes, but it’s most commonly used to help alleviate related symptoms like aching, swelling and inflammation. EVLT is safe and less invasive than conventional surgery. Sclerotherapy is often used to treat smaller varicose veins. It works by injecting a special chemical (sclerosant) into the varicose veins to damage and scar the inside lining, causing it to close. Our team of fellowship-trained vascular and interventional radiologists have years of experience in the treatment of varicose and spider veins. Consultations and treatment are performed at our convenient outpatient office in Greenville. Whether you’re experiencing pain or just want your legs to look better, Eastern Radiologists has the experience and state-of-the-art equipment to help.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes varicose veins?

Varicose veins are very common. In fact, as many as 30% of Americans may be affected. Heredity is one contributing factor in the development of varicose veins and spider veins. Both women and men can develop varicose veins, although they occur more often in women. Hormonal factors including pregnancy, the use of birth control pills, estrogen, progesterone and menopause can affect the disease. It’s also very common for pregnant women to develop varicose veins due to increases in hormone levels and blood volume, as well as, the enlarged uterus causing increased pressure on the veins. Other factors that may contribute to varicose veins include aging, standing occupations, obesity and leg injury.

What are the symptoms?

  • Aching or feeling of heaviness in your legs
  • Burning, throbbing leg pain/leg cramps
  • Swelling in the lower legs
  • Enlarged veins easily visible on your legs
  • Brownish-gray discoloration on your lower leg or ankle
  • Itching around or over a vein on your leg
  • Skin ulcers (sores) on your lower leg

How does EVLT work?

Using ultrasound guidance, your vascular and interventional radiologist will insert a small optic fiber into the varicose vein. Next a laser is activated, which heats the vein. The vein then closes as the laser is removed. The blood that was circulating though the damaged vein is naturally rerouted to other healthy veins. EVLT takes about an hour from start to finish and brings little to no pain. What’s more, the success rate is estimated to be 98%.

Why is EVLT the preferred treatment over sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is the primary treatment for small varicose veins in the legs, while EVLT is used for larger, more heavily diseased varicose veins. Sclerotherapy is more often used to improve the cosmetic appearance of spider veins and to relieve some of the symptoms associated with them.

What’s the difference between varicose veins and spider veins?

Spider veins are small red, blue or purple veins on or near the surface of the skin. Varicose veins are larger blue or greenish-blue veins which protrude from skin. Varicose veins can be indicative of a more serious vein disease, while spider veins are generally cosmetic in nature.

Does Eastern Radiologists treat spider or blue reticular veins?

We offer cosmetic sclerotherapy as a treatment option. Contact us to schedule a consultation. Please note that as a cosmetic procedure, most insurance carriers do provide coverage.

What is an interventional radiologist?

Interventional radiologists are specially trained physicians who use tiny, miniaturized tools, while watching their progress on X-ray or other imaging equipment, to diagnose and treat conditions. Typically, the interventional radiologist performs procedures through a very small nick in the skin. Interventional radiology treatments are generally easier for the patient than surgery because they involve no surgical incisions, less pain and shorter hospital stays. Your interventional radiologist will work closely with your primary care physician or gynecologist to be sure you receive the best possible care.

Schedule an appointment.

Please have your doctor schedule your appointment for this service. If you have questions about your appointment or need to reschedule call 252.752.5000. This service is offered at the following locations:

Prepare for your appointment.

Bring all of your medications to your appointment.

Tell your doctor about any recent illnesses, medical conditions, allergies and medications you’re taking, including herbal supplements and aspirin. You may be advised to stop taking aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or anticoagulants several days prior to your procedure. Leave jewelry at home and wear loose, comfortable clothing. You may be asked to wear a gown. Plan to have someone drive you home afterward.