The Vein Center & CosMed

Are any new treatments coming out?

The newest treatment available is for veins that may have bad valves blooming on the inside of the vein. These valves are supposed to close when we stand up and not let blood flow backwards. The valves of a varicose vein are not working at all, but there may be incompetent veins that are feeding these varicose veins. These veins, the greater saphenous vein start in the groin and travel down the inside of the thigh all the way down to the ankle. A similar vein at the back of the calf is called the lesser saphenous vein. When either of these veins have incompetent valves, blood flows backwards in these veins and can cause the pressure in varicose veins.

Years ago, surgeons would remove these veins in a procedure almost completely outdated today called a vein stripping. But the feeding vein that is causing too much pressure now can be treated using either a laser or a radio frequency device that is actually inserted inside the vein. After local anesthesia is administered, that vein can be “ablated” (the medical term for being destroyed) and will no longer be able to carry blood. We do not need the greater or lesser saphenous veins, and treating them this way can stop the pressure that is causing a varicose vein.

Ablation takes the place of stripping the vein. It is much easier on the patient, and it is done in the doctor’s office. The patient goes home afterwards and, other than feeling like having a pulled muscle for a couple of days, is fine to do all regular activities.

There are basically no other new techniques for the treatment of spider veins, but there are always improvements on previous sclerosants (the chemicals used to treat the spider veins). These are changes in chemicals that have been around for generations. Companies are always looking for ways to make more money so they will take a known solution that has been available for 50 years and give it new names and packaging.  They will call it a new solution, but it doesn’t do any better than the old solution.

Some people have tried to treat spider veins using a laser transmitting light through the skin into the spider vein in hopes that it will cause the vein to die and be reabsorbed. Over the years, multiple types of kinds of lasers have been attempted to do this, and none of them have been effective.

People buy these very expensive lasers in hopes that they will treat spider veins without knowing that they will not. They treat patients and charge them lots of money, but they wind up with very poor results. This can lead to burns of the skin and discoloring.