Interventional Radiology: Varicose Vein Treatments
At NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital, board-certified interventional radiologists from ColumbiaDoctors, the faculty practice of NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, treat varicose veins with a variety of minimally-invasive, painless treatments. This level of expertise, coupled with the latest technologies in our interventional radiology suite, provides you with the best possible care to alleviate your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are a common condition characterized by blue, bulging, or twisted veins, usually in the legs. Aside from the cosmetic issues associated with varicose veins, they can be painful and sometimes lead to more serious health issues. Veins have one-way valves that help keep blood flowing up the legs and to the heart. When these valves weaken or stop functioning, blood naturally flows toward the feet, eventually pooling in the veins and causing them to dilate. Spider veins, which resemble a spider or spider web, are a mild variation of varicose veins.
Signs & Symptoms of Varicose Veins
Symptoms of varicose veins include:
- Fullness, heaviness, aching, and pain
- Visible, swollen veins
- Smaller veins that you can see on the surface of the skin (called spider veins)
- Thigh or calf cramps, often at night
- Mild swelling of feet or ankles
- Restless leg symptoms
Women are more prone to varicose veins than men, as are people with a family history of varicose veins, older people, people with excess weight, and people who spend a large part of their day on their feet.
About Our Program
At NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital, you, the patient, are at the center of our approach to care. We’re here to help you understand both the health risks associated with your varicose veins and your options for treatment. Our interventional radiologists perform all procedures and work closely with your referring physician so you can make educated and informed choices about your care.
We’ll look at your veins, ask you questions about symptoms or concerns, and may use a hand-held ultrasound to get images of the veins inside your legs. You will get detailed information about treatment options and receive guidance as to which treatment we recommend for your veins.
Sometimes varicose veins are managed by wearing compression stockings, elevating legs regularly, losing weight, and exercising. In other cases, the veins can be eliminated with minimally-invasive procedures. We’ll make recommendations based on your individual health and cosmetic needs.
Minimally-Invasive, Painless Treatments for Vein Issues
Treating your varicose veins improves your appearance and your health. Treatments are painless and short, with little or no recovery time. Treatments aim to close off the weakened vein so that blood flows through other veins instead.
Columbia's interventional radiologists are experts in both imaging and minimally invasive procedures. Using ultrasound guidance, our interventional radiologists perform hundreds of procedures each year to treat varicose veins.
Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat small veins close to the surface of the skin. The physician injects a liquid called a sclerosing solution (usually a concentrated saline solution) into the diseased vein, which causes an inflammatory reaction in the tissues lining the veins. As a result, the vein closes, blood reroutes to healthy veins, and the diseased vein eventually disappears.
What to expect from the procedure
Sclerotherapy is an outpatient procedure performed in our interventional radiology suite. After determining the location and contours of the veins with ultrasound, we use a very fine needle to inject the solution into them. Depending on the size of the area to be treated we may do several injections during your procedure. In some cases we need to schedule an additional sclerotherapy session. The procedure takes between 15 and 30 minutes and you will see results over the following weeks and months.
After the procedure
You may have some bruising on your legs during the weeks after the procedure, and we will ask you to wear compression stockings for at least two weeks. We'll recommend that you remain active during your recovery.
Endovenous laser ablation treatment (EVLT)
Endovascular laser venous treatment (ELVT)—also called endovenous ablation—is a painless procedure developed by interventional radiologists that uses radiofrequency or laser energy to close abnormal veins. With a 98% success rate, the long-term results of EVLT are equal to or better than results for surgery (such as vein stripping), microphlebectomy (the removal of a large or medium sized varicose vein through a tiny incision in the leg), and sclerotherapy. EVLT causes little-to-no post-procedure pain or scarring. This procedure is most effective for large veins that are relatively straight.
What to expect from the procedure
We perform EVLT in our interventional radiology suite using local anesthesia. First, we insert a catheter into the vein through a tiny nick in the skin. Using ultrasound guidance, a tiny fiber-optic probe is inserted into the varicose vein through the catheter. This probe transmits laser energy to the affected vein. The heat from the laser kills the tissue in the varicose vein, causing the vein to close and eventually be reabsorbed by the body. This procedure usually takes between 45 minutes to one hour, and you will see results over the following weeks and months. Make sure to arrange in advance for someone to pick you up from your procedure.
After the procedure
During the weeks after the procedure, you may have some bruising on your legs. We'll suggest that you wear compression stockings for at least two weeks and try to stay active throughout recovery.
Why Choose Us
Experts in minimally Invasive treatments
Minimally invasive treatments for varicose veins are complex and challenging procedures that require expertise and a cautious approach. At NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital, our board-certified interventional radiologists from ColumbiaDoctors offer unmatched expertise and experience in varicocele embolization, even in the most complicated patients.
At NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital, we are continually committed to incorporating the latest imaging technologies into your care, including advanced X-ray fluoroscopy, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound. For varicocele embolization, our 3D imaging technology helps to increase procedure safety, limit the risk of complications, and achieve the best possible outcomes.
Empowering patients with information
We encourage all prospective patients to learn as much as possible about their medical condition and the available treatment options. Our interventional radiologists are available for consultations to confirm a diagnosis, get a second opinion, or help evaluate their treatment options.
Make an Appointment
Patients can book radiology appointments online via NYP.org/Connect as long as the patient has an Epic Order. Radiology appointments for X-Ray, ultrasound, bone density, echocardiogram, and limited CT and MRI scans.