Contact the Alaska Heart & Vascular Institute Vein Clinic directly by calling 907-563-VEIN (8346.)
Why come to the Vein Clinic at the Alaska Heart & Vascular Institute?
Your heart, arteries, and veins – they all work together! At the Alaska Heart & Vascular Institute, we consider your whole circulatory system. The common symptoms of leg pain or swelling may be due to your heart, peripheral arterial disease (PAD) or extremity vein issues – or a combination of one or more. We are trained and prepared to diagnose and treat what are often interrelated problems.
What are varicose veins?
Veins carry blood to the heart. Normally, valves within the veins open and close to keep blood flowing upward, toward the heart. When the valves do not function properly, blood pools and flows downward, a condition called reflux or venous insufficiency. Reflux results in enlarged veins that become visible underneath the skin and are called varicose veins. Varicose veins may appear elongated, bulging and rope-like. Venous reflux may also cause swelling, aching, burning, skin changes or venous ulcers of the legs.
Who is at risk for varicose veins?
More than 25 million men and women in the United States suffer from varicose veins, with more than one million of them seeking care annually. Conditions contributing to varicose veins include genetics, obesity, pregnancy, hormonal changes at menopause, work or hobbies requiring extended standing and past vein diseases such as thrombophlebitis (inflammation of a vein as a blood clot forms.)
It is estimated that in the United States, 72 percent of women and 42 percent of men will experience varicose veins by the time they are in their sixties.
What treatments are available at AHVI?
- Laser Venous Ablation
Laser Venous Ablation
Venous ablation is a minimally invasive treatment option for varicose veins. The benefits include less pain, a short recovery and no scarring. Venous ablation is an outpatient office procedure performed at the Alaska Heart & Vascular Institute. This eliminates costly hospitalizations and makes extensive recovery downtime unnecessary. Local anesthesia is given and then a laser fiber is inserted through the skin and directly into the vein that is causing the distended, unattractive and often painful varicose vein. The laser heats the lining within the vein causing it to collapse, shrink and eventually disappear. More than 95 percent of our patients who have undergone venous ablation report improvement or resolution of their leg pain and visibility of varicose veins.
Sclerotherapy is a treatment for the removal of spider veins and smaller varicose veins. Veins are injected with a sterile chemical sclerant, which irritates the vessel’s lining, making it become inflamed, harden and eventually fade away completely. Blood circulation is carried out through healthy veins located deeper within the body, so the outward appearance and sometimes pain associated with the problem veins is significantly reduced. Since sclerotherapy is minimally invasive and almost pain-free, it is performed at the Alaska Heart & Vascular Institute as an outpatient procedure. Anesthesia is not needed and complications are infrequent.
Occasionally, varicose veins near the surface of the skin are too large to treat with sclerotherapy and are too small to treat with laser ablation. In these cases, phlebectomy is sometimes recommended to treat unsightly or painful leg veins close to the skin’s surface. Phlebectomy is an outpatient office procedure performed at the Alaska Heart & Vascular Institute. With phlebectomy, varicose veins are removed through small punctures, which leave virtually no scars. This technique differs significantly from vein stripping and should not be confused with that procedure.
The “Alaska Heart Beat Blog” is dedicated to informing patients about numerous areas of cardiovascular health and prevention. It primarily focuses on the importance of being screened for cardiovascular disease and the risk factors associated with it, as well as information about varicose veins and venous insufficiencies. Click here to learn more.
If you have more detailed questions about the Alaska Heart & Vascular Institute, its Vein Clinic, or imaging and diagnostic testing services, please call 907-561-3211 for information or to book an appointment.