Varicose leg veins are a common condition associated with peripheral artery disease, occurring when veins near the surface of the leg stretch, bulge and twist. If left untreated varicose veins can cause leg pain, a leg wound or foot wound, or even overall fatigue.
One treatment option for this form of PAD is minimally invasive ablation, an outpatient surgical procedure performed by vascular surgeons on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Heart and Vascular Hospital – Dallas to destroy varicose veins with bursts of radiofrequency or laser energy. First, the physician maps a patient’s leg veins using duplex ultrasound to mark varicose veins on the skin. Next, the surgeon passes a catheter—a long, thin tube—through a small nick in the skin above the vein and moves the catheter to the end of the vein, activating a radiofrequency generator or sending laser pulses through the catheter and then slowly retracting it.
This heat destroys tissue along the length of the vein. The vein then collapses and is eventually reabsorbed by the body. The varicose vein treatment procedure takes about 60 minutes and may relieve symptoms immediately.