New treatment for varicose veins

July 29, 2013 2:46:17 PM PDT
Varicose veins in the legs can be unsightly and painful. There are laser techniques to get rid of them, but in some patients, they can leave a scar. Now, a new method could be a big improvement.

One local doctor is trying a method he developed to reduce the scarring that may happen after surgery in some patients.

The procedure involves no pain and a red laser moving under the skin of patients, like Carrin Logan's leg. She says her varicose veins have been embarrassing. She's only 42, young for this problem.

"I cover them up and I haven't had shorts for seven years. They're just unsightly and I'm just glad to get rid of them," she said.

She's getting rid of them with a novel method. "The basic procedure is the same. What differs is the way you put the catheter into the vein to do the procedure," Dr. David Greuner said.

Dr. Greuner's new way is to use a skinny needle instead of the standard fat plastic sheath, which can be painful, to penetrate the vein. The skinny needle is no bigger than that used to take a blood sample.

This procedure is done with only a novocaise, local anesthetic, and a little valium by mouth to relax the patient.

The laser burns the vein closed, and the scar is the size of a pinhead. It's especially good for dark-skinned people who may form large scars called keloids.

For multiple veins, the skinny needle may be better than the standard way.

"Add together the combined effect all the incisions to treat multiple veins, it can lead to a significant amount of disfigurement, which can be avoided with this procedure," Dr. Greuner said.

Carrin's anticipating the result.

"I'll just be free to wear different clothing, and it will just be more exciting," she said.

Sometimes with really tortuous veins, the standard method can be used together with the skinny needle. With either, these ugly veins are gone and don't come back. Veins deep in the legs still easily carry blood back to the heart.