At Venocure, we use only the latest practices and technology to treat varicose and spider veins. These days, physicians have discovered the least invasive and most pain-free ways to get rid of these pesky and painful veins, but it wasn’t always like that. While most medical procedures seem to make steady progression in safety and patient-comfort, the history of varicose vein treatment is a little bit of a roller coaster. Starting from dangerous and excruciating vein extraction, eventually physicians moved to an ancient version of compression stockings, but then soon went back to extraction, then tried intravenous injections, then resorted back to extraction again. Thankfully, in modern times, varicose vein removal is easy, fast, and nothing to be afraid of. However, that doesn’t mean the history of treatment for varicose veins isn’t interesting. Let’s go a little more in depth to learn about how we got to where we are today.
Ancient Times Call For Ancient Varicose Vein Treatments
Because our circulatory system has remained the same seemingly since humans have been alive, it can be assumed that we have been experiencing varicose veins for just as long. In fact, there are descriptions of varicose veins as early as 1500 B.C. in a medical document called the Ebers Papyrus. This ancient Egyptian document outlines over 700 ailments and the “best practices” to remedy them at the time. The manuscript refers to varicose veins as “serpentine windings” and said that the best treatment is to simply do nothing. Some physicians, especially in ancient Greece, practiced extracting the vein with a hook – keep in mind, this was before anesthesia or proper ways to disinfect tools. Others realized this was probably an awful idea and that it resulted in too many fatalities to continue the practice.
Modern Medicine Brings About Compression Therapy For Varicose Veins
By 400 B.C., Hippocrates, known as the “Father of Modern Medicine,” found that these veins could be treated using compression wraps, which is still a common treatment today to keep varicose vein problems from becoming debilitating. It looked as if painful and dangerous treatments for varicose veins was a thing of the past – but as you know, that was not the case.
Finding The Cause Of Varicose Veins
As a quick recap, varicose veins occur when blood does not properly flow from the legs to the heart. Each vein that is responsible for carrying blood to the heart has intermittent valves that act as stoppers, making the vein a one-way street that only goes up. However, when these valves fail, blood begins to flow the opposite way, causing the veins to gnarl and distend, resulting in painful pressure. Even though Hippocrates introduced the use of compression to treat varicose veins, it was still a long time before people knew what caused these painful veins. It wasn’t until 1603 that the valves were first discovered by a professor named Hieronymus Fabricius. Discovering what causes varicose veins allowed physicians to begin to search for new treatments that would get rid of varicose veins once and for all.
Early Injection Therapy Looks Somewhat Promising
By the 17th century, physicians began to treat varicose veins with injections – much like we do today. Except instead of a saline solution, they would use iron or iodine, which led to swelling and inflammation, as you can imagine, and often times did more harm than good. This made intravenous injections obsolete for quite some time.
Back To Basics To Remove Varicose Veins
As we said above, in general time only brings about better, safer, and less invasive medical treatments. However, in the 20th century when a little invention called “general anesthesia” came about, treatment for varicose veins reverted back to ancient practices of crudely extracting the vein, resulting in painful scarring and other issues. And because veins can actually re-grow, this practice was not even a permanent solution.
Modern Sclerotherapy Treatments From Venocure
Eventually, physicians settled on treatment for varicose veins that are still used today. Currently, the most common practices involve sclerotherapy or radiofrequency ablation – both of which are relatively non-invasive and cause very little discomfort. Sclerotherapy is a type of injection of a saline solution directly into the vein. The injection causes the vein to collapse and stick together so no blood can pass through – which as we’ve discussed in previous blogs, will not deplete your circulation. Radiofrequency ablation is a surgical procedure that uses a probe similar to a catheter that is inserted into the vein. Using an ultrasound machine, the doctor can pinpoint where the vein needs to be sealed off, and activate the tip of the probe to release a small amount of heat. As the probe is removed, the walls of the vein collapse and stick together, preventing blood flow. This procedure leaves only a tiny nick-like wound that can be covered with a band-aid, and there is zero downtime.
We offer both of these treatments at Venocure at our Dearborn and Brownstown locations. If you are tired of your painful varicose veins, contact our friendly offices today to schedule an appointment. Varicose veins are uncomfortable and only get worse as time goes on. Get started on your journey to remove spider veins and varicose veins today!