Published on December 19, 2019

New, Minimally Invasive Treatments Help Varicose Vein Patients 

Millions of Americans suffer from varicose veins — which can be unsightly and painful. At Concord Hospital, patients benefit from treatment options that can correct their ailment in minutes, without surgery or long recovery times. 

The interventional radiologists at Concord Hospital use various and well-proven treatment options to redirect blood flow and get patients back on their feet.

“The procedures take about 40 minutes, with no downtime afterword,” said Dr. Ari Salis of X-Ray Professional Associates and Director of Interventional Radiology at Concord Hospital. “Patients can go right back to work on the same day. That’s the true advantage of these procedures.”

Previous treatment required surgery to remove the vein and up to six weeks of recovery, with a higher risk of the problem reoccurring in the future. Perhaps because of the treatment and long recovery time or perhaps because many people feel they simply must live with the pain of varicose veins, only 10 percent of those with diseases of the veins seek treatment.

There are two systems of veins in the lower extremities: a deep system, which is the main route back to the heart, and a superficial system, smaller veins leading to the deep system. Varicose veins occur when valves in the superficial venous system malfunction, blocking blood from flowing into the deep system. The blood pools in the vein, causing pain, swelling and potential ulcers of the legs.

Minimally invasive procedures such as endovenous laser ablation are now more effective. With this procedure, a laser device is threaded through a very thin catheter into the affected vein, where it is turned on for about three minutes to disrupt the inside lining of the vein.

Other options involve using a medical sealant called VenaSeal™ to close the vein from the inside out or a foam product called Varithena®, which irritates the vein wall and closes the vein down.

The affected vein shrivels over a few weeks following the treatments and blood finds its way through other veins into the deep venous system and back to the heart. 

Concord Hospital is one of only a few organizations in New Hampshire offering these procedures. 

Dr. Salis, previously the director of a vein and vascular center in the Washington, DC area, has been performing vein treatment procedures at Concord Hospital since 2015. He and his colleagues at X-Ray Professional Association began offering the sealant and foam treatment options in the past two years.

“These procedures are well-proven and the risks are extremely low,” he said.

If varicose veins cause pain, leg swelling or cramping, insurance usually covers the treatment. 

In addition to varicose vein care, Concord Hospital treats a broad range of diseases in the veins, from minimal issues such as unsightly spider veins to complex issues resulting in ulcers.