Recent advances in diagnositic and surgical procedures have offered new options in approach to patients with varicosities of the lower extremities. Venous flow is mapped and problems areas pinpointed exactly using duplex ultrasound. This provides accurate diagnosis of the nature and location of the pathology. Once the problem is fully diagnosed, affected areas can then be ablated using laser technology – a minimally invasive procedure that can effectively treat a major problem. The procedure is FDA approved and many insurance plans cover its expense.
Disorders and diseases of the veins afflict up to 25 percent of the population, and a large number of these people are symptomatic. Depending on the type of vein disorder, patients suffer from tissue congestion. Pain swelling, inflammation, ulcer formation and/or bleeding. Age, childbearing history, lifestyle and family history all play a part in varicose vein pathology, which can range from the cosmetically troubling to clinically significant.
The traditional treatment for varicose veins has been ligation and stripping from the groin to the ankle. This is a major operative procedure associated with moderate pain, scarring and loss of saphenous vein conduit. Traditional stripping also suffers from an almost 0% failure rate in the first 5 years. However, recent advances in diagnostic technology, a better understanding of venous pathophysiology and improved surgical instrumentation have led to new approaches to the management of chronic venous insufficency. Tumescent anesthesia, ambulatory phlebectomy, schlerotherapy and laser ablation of saphenous varicose veins under ultrasound guidance have all contributed to new treatment options. These procedures can be safely and effectively performed in an office setting.
Laser ablation of clinically significant saphenous veins has been performed with a very high efficacy rate. Comprehensive diagnostic testing helps determine the exact location of the pathology, contributing to a less than 5 percent failure rate for this procedure. Besides offering the advantages of faster, easier recovery for the patient, this procedure does not require the use of an operating room, anesthesiologist or possible hospital stay for pain control making this very cost effective. The benefits and efficacy of this procedure are now recognized by many insurance carriers, including Medicare, and will reimburse for these procedures as long as they meet the criteria for medical necessity.