Healthcare Technology Featured Article

March 23, 2022

How Technology Helps Treating Venous Disease




In the United States alone, approximately 15 percent of the population is affected by a vein disease such as varicose veins. A condition wherein twisted, enlarged veins bulge on the surface of the skin. Varicose veins can also progress and cause other vein diseases such as ulcers, edema, reticular veins, and so on. 

That said, venous disease is more common than you think.  So it is no longer surprising why there has been an increasing number of vein clinics across the country. Many people have been turning to doctors and vein specialists from these clinics to resolve their condition and hopefully eliminate its appearance from their skin (i.e. varicose veins).

Given its popularity, we thought it would be a great idea to highlight some of the latest innovations and treatments for venous disease. This way, you would know what are your options as well as the things that you should look out for in every treatment.

Thermal Ablation

One of the top worries of people with venous disease is the appearance of varicose veins. While it is often not a serious medical condition, some are still embarrassed and worried by how it looks on their skin. That is why if you ask your doctor or vein specialist, they can recommend tons of treatments and surgeries to permanently remove them. That said, if you go to any vein clinic in your area, then chances are they probably offer treatments such as thermal ablation.

Generally, thermal ablation is the process wherein your doctor uses heat to treat your damaged vein and eliminate its bulging appearance on your skin. A doctor or vein specialist would puncture your damaged vein and then insert a catheter to send heat, ultimately destroying and making your varicose vein less visible.

There are two popular types of thermal ablation available in any vein clinic across the country, one being radiofrequency ablation and the other being endovenous laser ablation. Both treatments are minimally invasive procedures that are approved by the FDA to treat varicose veins. This means that pain management during the treatment is not an issue and there is little to no downtime afterward.

Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency is the first one to get approved by the FDA before endovenous ablation. With that, radiofrequency ablation for varicose vein is a much more common treatment offered in many vein clinics across the country.

In the United States, doctors generally use a medical device called ClosureFast. The great thing about this device is that it can be used for both saphenous and perforator vein ablation. So apart from spider veins and varicose veins, it can also be effective in treating other venous diseases such as advanced chronic venous insufficiency.  The device can deliver heat up to 120 °C for 20 s per cycle to your veins. Oftentimes, the heating tip is withdrawn after every cycle to treat a new segment of the vein.

Endovenous Laser Ablation

Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) was approved by the FDA in 2001, two years after the Radiofrequency ablation. Since then, it has revolutionized the way doctors and specialists use vein therapies. Before EVLA was approved, surgical stripping and ligation were the standards of care. But nowadays, patients can simply turn to this treatment for their venous problems.

Unlike radiofrequency ablation, there are different kinds of laser or thermal ablation devices that your doctor or specialist can use other than ClosureFast. Most of the time, your doctor’s preferred medical device (i.e. fiber tip) is used along with ultrasound guidance. This way, they can ensure that they effectively and accurately target the correct veins.

 The general process is still somehow similar to radiofrequency ablation. Both use heat to treat your damaged veins and both use tumescent anesthesia before proceeding with the treatment.

Mechanochemical Ablation (Non-thermal Ablation)

This type of ablation is a newer approach to treat varicose veins. So it is best to call your vein clinic prior to your appointment to check whether they offer this type of treatment or not.

As compared to the two previous ablations discussed, Mechanochemical Ablation (MOCA) is a non-tumescent and non-thermal ablation technique. Rather than use heat, MOCA injects a sclerosant solution into your vein instead. A special rotating catheter is also used in this treatment but in this case, tumescent anesthesia is no longer needed.

Picking the Best Treatment

All in all, there are now several vein treatment options to choose from. Given that vein disease has become too common these days, many vein clinics are now striving to get the latest medical device to provide you with the best, latest, and most effective treatment there is.

This way, you can feel more at ease and you no longer have to feel pain or discomfort about the appearance of your varicose vein.    

               









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