Human body's blood vessels are composed of arteries and veins. These two types of vessels have different functions. Arteries send oxygen or nutrition-rich blood from heart to each part of our body. On the other hand, veins send blood without oxygen and nutrition from each part of our body to heart.
Usually, many people think that circulation disorders are caused by the obstruction or stenosis of arteries. However, in fact, there are many circulation disorder diseases that occur due to the disability of veins.
Veins have valve structure that makes blood to flow only in one direction to pump up the blood full of waste products. If these valves are out of control, blood in vein cannot go up to the heart and regurgitates. As a result, veins in lower extremity are expanded and blood that cannot circulate normally is pooled in those veins.
These expanded veins are called 'spider veins' or 'varicose veins'. Spider veins are small and located in outer part of the skin. Varicose veins are largely expanded and thick. They are located inside of the skin.
Pain in the leg is usually related to the expanded veins. If patient stands up for a long time, he (she) may feel tiredness, pain, itching, burning, numbness, shaking and tremor of thigh muscles. These symptoms become worse in the evening. Edema of the legs can be evoked. If the symptoms become severe, eczema, inflammation and even necrosis can occur.
Unseen part of varicose vein is more important than visually observed part. Thus, whether doctor can find out those parts exactly when making a diagnosis is very important. This diagnosis can be made right after some examinations that take only 10~15 minutes without pain. Vein Doppler test and color ultrasound test are used.
Genetic factor is most important. Incidence is 3 times higher in women than men. Thus, if parents have varicose vein, daughters should take deep consideration.
50% of aged women (40~50s) have varicose vein. Puberty, pregnancy, menopause, oral contraceptive can fasten the progress of varicose vein by changing the female hormones' activity.
Usually, in the third period of pregnancy, varicose vein can newly appear or become worse. This is because of the obstruction of venous circulation by expanded uterus and change of female hormone activity.
Expanded veins become thin about 3 months after delivery. But if patients have genetic factor or stand up longer due to occupational condition, varicose veins become worse and worse.
Other factors are aging, obesity, trauma of legs and occupational condition (that requires employees to stand up for a long time).
First is conservative therapy such as compress stocking. Second is radical therapy such as laser, sclerotherapy, operation or high-frequency wave. By using conservative and radical therapies appropriately, we can expect the best result.
After face-to-face meeting with blood vessel specialist, relationship between symptoms of patients and varicose vein can be diagnosed. After making a general treatment plan, search the parts that were not observed visually by vein Doppler test and color ultrasound test. If varicose vein is diagnosed, patients can counsel about specific treatment plans with the doctor.
Varicose veins are composed of 'can-be-observed part' and 'hidden part'. Varicose veins firstly appear in the groin and popliteal region. Varicose veins then come down to the lower side and spread branches to the surface of the skin.
Through this stage, patients can understand their situation by seeing the 'can-be-observed part' and 'hidden parts' that were found out through tests and observation in first hand.
Laser treatment is authorized by FDA. As it is performed under local anesthesia, laser treatment can be done directly without blood examination or starving. Patients can walk right after the treatment. This therapy is safe to the patients with heart disease, liver disease and kidney disease.
Doctor put thin laser fiber optic into the ruined vein around the knee while watching the ultrasound screen. Then doctor pulls out the fiber slowly, shooting the laser inside the vein. After the therapy, ruined veins are obstructed. When normal circulation is recovered, treated veins are absorbed and terminated.
Curved vein branches at the skin surface can be removed by sclerotherapy or ambulatory phlebectomy, considering size, thickness and location.
Hidden veins can be treated by laser and visually observed varicose veins, spider veins or expanded capillary vessels can be treated by sclerotherapy or ambulatory phlebectomy.
Through laser therapy, functional treatment (recovery of venous circulation disorder) is directly achieved. Plastic treatment is also performed at the same time by sclerotherapy or ambulatory phlebectomy.
Ambulatory phlebectomy Treatment that removes varicose veins that are located at the skin's surface through micro-incision (1~2mm) under local anesthesia.
Laser therapy is a therapy that can substitute previous surgical method. Under local anesthesia, doctor put laser fiber inside destroyed vein through injection needle. Laser is sot inside the vein and venous treatment is induced.
FDA authorized this treatment in 2002 and many documents are published about laser therapy. Samsung Clinic published 3 research papers in Dermatologic Surgery and Journal of Vascular Surgery. These papers commonly show that laser therapy is far superior to surgical treatment.
It does not remain scar and does not require hospitalization. Patients can walk right after the treatment. Pain and complication are also rare.
Patients should wear compression stocking for 2~4 weeks after therapy. They should not take off the stocking within 48 hours after treatment. After 48 hours, patients can take off the stocking at night. Shower is also possible.
As local anesthesia is performed, light travel or tour is possible. It is also safe to patients with chronic diseases or aged patients.
* Uses most decent Laser, No hospitalization, pains, scars.
* Patient can go back to normal life(trips, tours) immediately after treatment by using local anesthesia, so can
be applied to patients with chronic diseases like as liver cirrhosis, diabetes, angina or renal dysfunction.
Sclerotherapy can be used to varicose vein, spider vein, telangiectasis. Doctors put a very small needle into the vein and inject STS (sodium tetradecyl sulfate; authorized by FDA) to block the vein and induce absorption and termination of the vein.
After the treatment, symptoms related to varicose vein are promptly removed. Veins that can be observed visually also disappear slowly. Thus, legs become cleaner and thinner.
Bruise appears right after the therapy and disappears within 2 weeks. Treated veins become thick and black. But these veins disappear within 1~6 months.
As anesthesia is not required, patients do not feel any restriction in activity. Patients should wear compression stocking for 1~4 weeks after therapy. They should not take off the stocking within 48 hours after treatment. After 48 hours, patients can take off the stocking at night. Shower is also possible.
Ultrasound induced sclerotherapy
This is a method that performs sclerotherapy to thick veins under the skin while watching venous ultrasound. This can substitute surgery or laser therapy successfully. Vessel specialist can perform this therapy by own decision.
After the treatment, symptoms like tremor, fatigue and numbness are gone and legs become light. As edema disappears, legs become thinner.
Varicose vein can induce various symptoms in our whole body. Heaviness of shoulder, headache, sleeping disorder and fatigue are representative systemic symptoms. These symptoms will be reduced at the same time after therapy.