Vein Treatment Options
At NYU Langone’s Vein Center, you receive a treatment plan based on your individual needs. First, our experienced surgeons ask about your medical history, perform a physical exam, and then conduct an ultrasound of the area in question to help pinpoint the cause of your concerns. These problems may include enlarged or dilated veins, malfunctioning venous valves, blocked veins, or blood clots.
If you find that particular veins are unattractive or cause pain, swelling, or other uncomfortable symptoms, you may be a candidate for vein treatment. Some common outpatient procedures for different types of vein issues, such as spider veins and varicose veins, include the following:
Radiofrequency occlusion, also known as the ClosureFast™ procedure, is a minimally invasive, fast-healing treatment used to treat varicose veins—those swollen or congested veins that can protrude from the skin and look like small pieces of rope. The procedure is performed using ultrasound to guide a small catheter, or flexible tube, into the damaged vein. The catheter delivers heat in the form of electrical energy to the vein wall to seal it shut. Eventually, the body absorbs the vein.
This procedure is performed using local anesthesia in the doctor’s office, usually in less than one hour. You can go home about 30 minutes after the procedure is over and return to your normal activities immediately.
Endovenous laser, or VenaCure™, is a similar procedure used to seal varicose veins. It is performed using ultrasound to guide a small laser fiber into the damaged vein. The device delivers heat in the form of laser energy to the vein wall to seal it shut. Eventually, the body absorbs the vein.
This procedure is also performed using local anesthesia in the doctor’s office, usually in less than one hour. You can go home about 30 minutes after the procedure is over and return to your normal activities.
The preferred treatment for varicose veins, phlebectomy requires only local anesthesia. The veins are removed through punctures so small—typically one or two millimeters long—that you don’t usually need stitches. Phlebectomy is often performed following the VenaCure ™ or ClosureFast™ procedures to remove any large surface veins left behind after the vein is closed.
Your legs may look smoother and feel better, and scarring is so slight that it usually disappears in six months to one year.
Sclerotherapy is a simple procedure that is effective in treating the early stages of both varicose and spider veins. If your doctor determines sclerotherapy is right for you, our trained registered nurse uses a small needle to inject the vein with a medication that irritates the lining of the vein, triggering it to close and be reabsorbed into your body over time. This treatment helps to prevent additional vein complications such as swelling, unsightliness, or excessive bulging.
You may need one to several sclerotherapy sessions for the treatment to be effective, and the number of injections varies per session. While scarring and other complications are rare, side effects may include bruising that usually disappears within two weeks and dark pigmentation that can last for several months but typically fades. You can usually go about your normal activities after your session.
VeinWave and Laser Therapy
Both VeinWave™ and laser therapy are used to treat spider veins, or broken capillaries, that are too small for injections. In laser treatment, a specific wavelength of high-energy pulsed light is passed through the skin. The light is absorbed by the red blood cells in the spider vein and converted to heat, triggering the vein to seal itself shut.
The VeinWave™ uses a heated, ultra-fine needle that is applied to the surface of the vein. The heat seals the vein closed and the spider vein disappears within a few weeks. This procedure allows for a very accurate application, helping to prevent scarring.
Spider veins on the face are treated with either VeinWave™ or laser therapy, while spider veins on the legs are usually treated with sclerotherapy first and laser therapy as an additional treatment.
An alternative to laser and radiofrequency treatments, Varithena® is a chemical used to close varicose veins that was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Our team has experience administering this treatment after participating in the FDA trials leading up to the approval of Varithena® in November 2013.
Varithena® is injected, or inserted via a catheter, to collapse the affected vein so blood flow is redirected to healthier veins nearby. The procedure requires fewer injections of local anesthetic than laser or radiofrequency treatments.
Clarivein® is a device that uses a catheter with a small, rotating metal wire to deliver a chemical that closes the vein. Clarivein® also requires fewer injections of local anesthetic than laser or radiofrequency treatments.