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Ultrasound Varicose Vein Treatment

by Jane Meggitt

Currently, varicose vein treatment is a relatively simple procedure generally done on an outpatient basis. In the future, it may become easier yet. Researchers at Russia’s Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University have developed a way to eradicate varicose veins via high frequency ultrasound. Today, ultrasound is used for diagnosing varicose veins, but not for eliminating them. While this method is not yet available for patients in Russia, let alone the U.S., it appears promising and may become standard treatment within the next decade.

Ultrasound and Varicose Vein Diagnosis

Typically, patients notice their own enlarged, gnarly veins and visit a vein treatment specialist for help. While the doctor can visually diagnose varicose veins, the issue is often deeper than that – no pun intended. The “duplex” ultrasound test is considered the best way to diagnosis blood flow as well as locating any blood clots in the legs. Duplex refers to two ultrasound methods, the traditional and the Doppler. The traditional creates pictures of the vascular system, while the Doppler creates pictures of the blood flow. Together, these two types of ultrasound give your doctor a complete view of your leg’s vascular condition. Based on the diagnosis, the doctor recommends certain lifestyle changes for mild cases or a medical procedure for vein eradication. Those procedures include:

  • Sclerotherapy – a chemical injection closes off the vein. Several injections spread over a period of weeks are necessary, depending on the size of the vein.
  • Endovenous ablation therapy – a catheter is inserted into the vein, and the vein is closed off with heat from a laser or radiowave.
  • Endoscopic vein surgery – larger veins may require this treatment, which involves using an endoscope – a tiny camera with a surgical device on it - inserted into the vein to close it off.

While these procedures are minimally invasive, none of them are non-invasive, as is the case with the Russian ultrasound method. The only non-invasive varicose vein surgery available involves lasers, but lasers are not used on large veins.

How the New Procedure Works

Under this technique, the patient lies down and his or her leg is put into a container with liquid conducive to conducting ultrasound. The doctor chooses which parts of the leg should receive ultrasound. Those sections receive irradiation treatment via the ultrasound. The entire procedure occurs under doctor supervision, and has both diagnostic and treatment components. Right now, the process is not automated, but researchers are working on that. They plan to create a system that increases the procedure’s speed, making it even more efficient. Another plus: the ultrasound does not damage the skin as may happen with conventional varicose vein therapy.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about vein treatment, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!

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