No one likes to feel any pain if they can avoid it. That’s exactly what anesthesia does — it stops the patient from feeling pain during a medical procedure. Modern local anesthesia and sedation make virtually any medical procedure short of open surgery doable, without resorting to general (sleep) anesthesia.
At Southwest Vein and Leg, we offer anesthesia for some of our vein procedures, such as vein ablation.
What is anesthesia?
Anesthesia is administered to patients to keep them comfortable during medical procedures. There are different types of anesthesia, depending on the procedure and the degree of possible pain.
Anesthesia 101 — There are four types of anesthesia:
The patient has no consciousness. General anesthesia is used for major surgery.
Sedation has different levels. An oral sedative can keep you relaxed if you’re anxious about a procedure. IV sedation is continually monitored and can be deeper. In mild sedation, the patient is awake and able to respond to instructions. Tumescent anesthesia is a type of IV sedation where the solution is placed around the vein to empty the vein, provide local anesthetic, and to absorb heat.
Think of this as a nerve block or an epidural. The goal is to numb large areas of the body, such as during childbirth or abdominal surgery.
This is injected “locally” to numb a small area.
Can anybody have the option to add anesthesia to a vein procedure?
We already use local anesthesia and tumescent sedation for all of our ablation procedures. Some patients also like to have at least topical numbing for sclerotherapy. If you’re overly anxious about a procedure, you can request an oral sedative prior to the procedure. Adding sedation does add cost to the procedure when we don’t normally provide it.
What vein procedures require anesthesia?
Of the procedures we perform at Southwest Vein and Leg, we generally only use anesthesia for radiofrequency ablation and laser ablation of varicose veins. This is usually a combination of local anesthesia and tumescent sedation.
Venous mapping is painless. Sclerotherapy involves only a very thin, tiny needle when injecting the sclerosant into various surface spider veins. Most patients don’t request any local anesthesia during sclerotherapy. They equate the feeling of the injections to that of a pinprick.
What types of anesthesia are used for vein procedures?
Vein stripping, which was used to remove varicose veins before the advent of laser and radiofrequency ablation, was full surgery. These procedures required general anesthesia, but they are almost never necessary today.
In most cases of ablation, we use a combination of a local anesthetic to numb the topical area. Tumescent IV sedation will then be used down the length of the vein that is being closed off or removed.
If a patient is anxious about a procedure, we can provide oral sedation.
What are the risks involved with using anesthesia for these vein treatments?
There is virtually no risk. The anesthetics we use for these local injections have been used for decades and have proven to be safe and effective. There are none of the risks associated with general (sleep) anesthesia. With IV sedation, you are constantly monitored, and the effects can be reversed almost immediately once the drip to the vein is stopped.
How do I prepare for anesthesia prior to these vein treatments?
There is no preparation necessary for the anesthesia options we offer at Southwest Vein and Leg. This is not like general anesthesia where the patient needs to fast prior to the surgery.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
If you’re interested in learning more about anesthesia please contact us for a consultation with either Dr. Menzies, or Dr. Simmons at 817.235.0769 or fill out our contact us form. We will discuss your needs and concerns, and determine your best course of action.