ELVT varicose vein treatment to the great saphenous vein is quite common due to reflux, the backwards flow of blood in the veins. In fact, reflux and dysfunctional vein valves of the saphenous vein are the most common cause of varicose veins in the leg. The great saphenous vein is the longest vein in the human body. It starts in the upper foot, runs up the inner calf, then along the inner knee, up the inner thigh, and then into the groin. It is a “superficial” vein, meaning it runs close to the surface of the skin, through the subcutaneous later.
It is quite common to have ELVT varicose vein treatment performed on the upper saphenous vein (in the thigh region) and not on the lower saphenous vein (in the calf and foot region), since the the saphenous vein narrows around the knee and it can be difficult to access at this point. Furthermore, even if there is evidence of reflux in the lower saphenous vein and or other associated veins, performing ELVT varicose vein treatment on the upper saphenous vein often heals, or greatly improves, the condition in the lower leg. If there is any pain associated with varicose veins in the lower leg, ELVT varicose vein treatment on the upper saphenous vein will often eliminate or reduce this pain.
If a vein doctor treats the saphenous vein at or below the knee with ELVT varicose vein treatment, there is risk of numbness in that portion of the leg. The nerves in this area run very close to the saphenous vein, closer in some people than in others, and there is always a risk for damaging these nerves when doing any type of procedure in this area. One of the nerve branches near the knee is known to sometimes spasm after ELVT varicose vein treatment. The good news is that these spasms often go away within six months of treatment, so in many cases, you just have to be patient. In other cases, the numbness may be due to inflammation, rather than nerve damage, and this is only temporary too and actually takes less time to go away. Some vein doctors will recommend treatment of any veins that still have pain and or reflux after several weeks to a few months with ambulatory phlebotomy or foam sclerotherapy.
It is common to have pain two or three weeks after receiving ELVT varicose vein treatment to your great saphenous vein. This is because the saphenous vein will go from being like a flexible stretchy rubber band to a much stiffer rope during the recovery phase. Walking and gentle stretching exercises will help make this pain go away as the healing continues and the body continues to reabsorb the vein. You can also try applying mild heat, being careful not to burn the skin, and performing massages in this part of your leg with Dermaka cream. Dermaka is an all natural cream made from the essential oils of the Arnica montana flower, licorice, green tea, and chamomile that is known to have potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant powers. It also contains bromelain, an extract (enzyme) from pineapple, which helps with bruising.
It is interesting to note that the great saphenous vein is the vein often harvested from the leg to be used in coronary bypass surgery. It is a strong vein with a wide diameter that can be used in the heart. Further, since there is redundancy of veins in the leg, the blood keep flowing even if a big portion of the great saphenous vein is removed. Thus, your vein doctor may not want to apply EVLT varicose vein treatment to this vein unless it is absolutely necessary, especially if you are at high risk for cardiovascular disease.
Before you have ELVT varicose vein treatment to the great saphenous vein, or any associated veins, it is important that you get your varicosities well mapped and studied with duplex ultrasound, a completely painless and non-invasive procedure. You can schedule a free initial examination at Metro Vein Centers with some of the top vein doctors in the country. If you do receive varicose vein treatment on your great saphenous vein, it will also be very important to receive follow up duplex ultrasound examinations to determine if there are any remaining refluxes in associated veins that need additional treatment. Metro Vein Centers is a good place to have this type of treatment performed because they are very good at following up.