Varicose Vein Treatments

At PCI Vein, we have developed an unique, multi-faceted approach to treating your varicose veins with NO down time, the only clinic in town with this protocol.

    • Trained ultrasound technologist AND diagnostic radiologist to review your varicose vein images
    • State of the art technologies using BOTH laser AND radiofrequency ablation equipment
    • Minimally invasive micro-phlebectomy, surgical techniques to remove large varicose vein
    • Tiny, precise sclerotherapy injections for unsightly spider veins and other superficial veins

What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged, bulging veins on the skin of the legs.  These abnormal veins are caused by venous reflux disease.  Venous reflux disease occurs when valves in the veins malfunction and cannot push blood from your legs back to your heart. The blood then pools in the vein; over time the pooling of blood in the vein causes fluid to leak out into the tissues of the leg.  This is when a patient will feel heavy, achy legs.  As the disease worsens, blood leaks in the skin turning it brownish black.  The skin becomes hard from scarring and ultimately, the skin can break open forming an ulcer or open bleeding.  Venous insufficiency is the underlying cause of varicose veins and spider veins.

What causes Varicose Veins?

30-40 million Americans are affected by chronic venous insufficiency but only 1.9 million seek treatment. By age 50, 41% of women will suffer from varicose vein. By age 60, 42% of men will have varicose vein disease.  Up to 4% of Americans over age 65 suffer from venous ulcers.  Over 1 million work days are lost due to venous insufficiency.

Varicose veins do not get better without treatment. Patients will continue to suffer from aching, throbbing leg pain and swelling. Other symptoms include itching, numbness, heavy/tired legs, night cramps, and restless leg syndrome. In some patients, varicose vein disease can cause more serious circulation and skin problems, including leg ulcers, blood clots, or spontaneous vein rupture.

Heredity is the main cause of varicose veins.  About 50% of varicose veins patients have family history of the disease.  If both parents have varicose veins, their offspring have 90% chance of developing disease.  If one parent has disease, his/her daughter have a 60% chance and son 25% chance of venous insufficiency.  Other contributing factors include pregnancy, obesity, hormone therapy, injury, and prolonged sitting or standing.


We diagnose your varicose veins through a detailed history and physical exam and using state of the art ultrasound. The ultrasound uses sound waves to detect venous blood that is moving in the wrong direction. We perform a specialized ultrasound to look for abnormal varicose veins. This ultrasound exam can take up to one hour and is more detailed and different than a typical, venous ultrasound performed in the ER.


Spider Veins

Spider veins are abnormal, small red or purple dilated blood vessels. They measure between 0.5 and 1 mm in diameter. They are filled with stagnant blood. Although smaller than varicose veins, spider veins are more noticeable and darker because they are located superficially. Spider veins result in itching, restless leg, and leg pain. The presence of spider veins can indicate the underlying venous reflux disease.

Common symptoms of varicose veins:

    • At the end of the day, do your ankles or legs ache, swell, or feel heavy?
    • Have you noticed any skin discoloration around your ankles?
    • Do you have ulcers or open wounds near your ankles that don’t heal?
    • Have you noticed bulging or rope-like veins in the leg, buttocks, or genitals?
    • Do you have pain upon standing?



Regular, low impact exercise will increase circulation of blood in the legs and pump blood out of the legs.  However, after varicose vein treatment high impact activities like weight lifting should be avoided for the first month.  Elevate the legs when sitting or sleeping can promote blood return to the heart.  Prolong sun exposure can damage your skin and the elastic layers of your veins.  Also, avoid hot baths and jacuzzi which may cause varicose veins to enlarge and discolor.

Medical Compression Stockings

These stockings require a doctor’s prescription.  Stockings have different levels of compression which decrease the pain and control the leg swelling. Compression stockings work by preventing blood from pooling in the dilated leg veins.

Radiofrequency ablation

It is one of two minimally invasive procedures approved by the FDA that replaces traditional vein stripping surgery. It is called the VNUS closure procedure. A thin catheter is guided under ultrasound into the diseased vein through a tiny skin opening. Then, a large amount of anesthetic is given around the vein to insure a comfortable experience. The catheter delivers radiofrequency (RF) energy directly to the wall of the vein which is heated shut.

Endovenous Laser Ablation

Laser ablation is the other FDA approval option to close varicose veins.  A small laser fiber is inserted into the vein under ultrasound.  The laser delivers energy to the water in the vein which closes the vein with little collateral damage.

At PCI Vein, we are proud to be the only center in Albuquerque that offers both radiofrequency ablation and endovenous laser ablation procedures.  Some veins are best closed by endovenous laser ablation and some by radiofrequency ablation.  We can choose the equipment that is best suited to your pathology.  Some patients require the use of both devices.

Ambulatory Phlebectomy

Ambulatory Phlebectomy is the removal of unsightly bulging veins through tiny incisions in the skin.  A small hook is used to “fish” out the diseased vein.  The procedure is used as an adjunct to the venous ablation procedure.

Ultrasound Guided Foam Sclerotherapy

A safe sclerosant is administered under ultrasound guidance which foams and expands to close small to medium sized veins.

Visual sclerotherapy

This procedure is used to treat spider veins. A safe sclerosant is injected to shrink and close the veins. Often, several treatments are needed to close the veins. This treatment is long lasting and less likely to stain the skin. This technique is used for smaller veins about 1mm in diameter

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