Thursday, September 19, 2013

Living with Varicose Veins? New Treatments Mean You Don’t Have To

Dr. Carter Freiburg (left) and Dr. Peter Mackrell
Many people think varicose veins are a cosmetic problem, but if you’re living with them, you know that’s not true. They can cause pain, burning and achiness that make it hard to work, exercise, sit or stand. 

Varicose veins occur when the valves controlling blood flow through the veins don’t work properly. They leak and blood collects in the veins, putting them under pressure and causing them to become weak, enlarged and painful. 

“It’s a common misconception that varicose veins are a purely cosmetic concern,” says Carter B. Freiburg, MD, a vascular surgeon at Vascular Surgery Associates on the GBMC campus. “Not only can they cause serious discomfort that interferes with daily activities, they also have a psychological impact that can affect a patient’s quality of life.”

Treat the Cause, Relieve the Symptoms

Vascular Surgery Associates offers options that treat the root cause—the leaky valves in the veins. The first step is conservative treatment. An in-office ultrasound pinpoints leaky veins. Patients then wear compression stockings, elevate their legs and take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications for about three months. 

“If conservative treatment does not provide the level of relief patients want, there are a number of minimally invasive procedures we can perform in our office or the outpatient surgical setting to close the vein with leaky valves,” explains Peter J. Mackrell, MD, Chief of Vascular Surgery at GBMC and a vascular surgeon at Vascular Surgery Associates. “These procedures use local anesthetic or a light sedative, cause very little discomfort and take about 30 minutes. There are no sutures or staples, just gauze dressings and an ace bandage on the leg for a day. Patients are generally back at work in about two days.”

Minimally invasive treatments include: 

  • Saphenous vein ablation: A laser heats and closes the vein. Blood drains into deeper veins, relieving pressure on the varicose veins, allowing them to shrink. 
  • Sclerotherapy: After saphenous vein ablation, if the patient has spider veins that are too small for excision, the spider veins are injected with a tiny needle that delivers a fluid called a sclerosant. This fluid seals the spider veins shut and they are then no longer visible. 
  • Vein excision: After ablation or sclerotherapy, removal of the varicose veins through tiny micro-incisions may be appropriate. Recovery takes only 2 ½ days and involves little post-operative discomfort. 
  • Topical laser treatment: This option diminishes the appearance of spider veins and is used for certain spider veins that are not good candidates for sclerotherapy and spider veins in other areas, such as the face.

“If you want to explore treatment options for varicose veins, you’ll find full-service vascular care in our comfortable office setting at GBMC,” adds Dr. Freiburg.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Freiburg or Dr. Mackrell at their office in Physicians Pavilion West on the GBMC campus, call Vascular Surgery Associates at 410-825-4928.


  1. Thanks for your this helpful material and your concern with us. Thanks for share this blog. spider vein treatment wilmette

  2. Doing exercise can get rid of the varicose veins.

  3. "I've worked in construction my whole life. All of this labor caused me to get severe Varicose Veins Treatment in my legs. A co-worker turned me on to VeinityRX. This varicose veins supplement has turned back the clock on my legs. I can finish up a shift without that awful ache in my legs."

  4. Yes you are right various veins are not cosmetic problem. It happen with any one and swelling, pain and other symptoms have it. Its very painful only treatment is useful for it. varicose vein treatment

  5. What are ways of preventing from the occurence of varicose vein?Will the above treatment completely cure varicose vein?

  6. One of my family members had this done in the early 90's. Eventually new vericosities formed, many worse than the original ones, and many surface spider. Yes, to accomodate for the volume of blood flow. I have never heard of new "normal" veins forming, after the closing of the faulty ones.thanks~ Barbara T.