Effective treatment starts at the source.
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are a medical condition in which the veins enlarge due to a malfunction of the valves, causing improper blood flow that results in pooling and increased pressure within the veins.
Did you know that approximately 1 in 4 American adults have varicose veins? Typically more common in women and older adults, 22 million women and 11 million men between the ages of 40 – 80 have varicose veins in the United States.
What are the risk factors for developing varicose veins?
- Family history
- Increasing age (over 30)
- Gender (female)
- Prolonged sitting or standing
- Deep Vein Thrombosis
What are the symptoms of varicose veins?
- Leg pain, aching, and throbbing
- Burning sensation in the leg
- Leg heaviness or fatigue
- Restless legs
- Leg swelling
- Skin discoloration
- Ulceration (wounds that won't heal)
How are varicose veins diagnosed?
A specialized ultrasound examination of your legs' superficial and deep venous systems is used to identify the cause of vein problems.
What should I do if I am diagnosed with varicose veins?
Varicose veins can have a significant impact on your quality of life. It can progress to more severe forms of chronic venous disease for some individuals, including venous ulceration. Therefore, it is important to seek medical treatment if diagnosed with varicose veins symptoms.
At VIE, we provide minimally invasive treatment options that allow most patients to walk in and walk out the same day, minimizing office visits and time away from work.
What is the treatment for varicose veins?
Specific treatment for varicose veins is determined by the duplex ultrasound findings, combined with your signs and symptoms. Treatment options include:
- Conservative management: wearing compression stockings, daily walking, weight loss, leg elevation, and anti-inflammatories. Venous supplements (diosmin and hesperidin) can relieve the symptoms of varicose veins, but do not treat the underlying malfunctioning veins.
- Sclerotherapy: a chemical solution (sclerosant) is injected into the varicose veins, which irritates the vein's lining and causes the vein to close and block blood flow. The blood is rerouted through other healthy veins, and the treated veins begin to disappear within a few weeks.
- Thermal Ablation: a tiny catheter is inserted into the vein, which delivers radiofrequency energy to heat the vein wall. This causes the vein to close and shrink, preventing blood from circulating through that vein. A local anesthetic is administered along the course of the vein before heating the vein. Once the vein is closed, the blood is rerouted through other healthy veins.
- Medical Adhesives (VenaSeal): a medical superglue (cyanoacrylate) is injected into the diseased vein through a small catheter delivery system using ultrasound guidance, and the glue seals the vein shut. Since no heat is required, only minimal local anesthetic is required before insertion of the delivery system.
- Microphlebectomy: after the skin is anesthetized with a local anesthetic, special tools inserted through small incisions, are used to disrupt and remove small segments of varicose veins.
Here's what you can expect from your vist:
- CONSULTATION: Symptom review and health history discussion.
- IMAGING: Initial testing for varicose veins is a duplex ultrasound study of the legs. Sometimes additional testing with CT Venography is required.
- TESTING: Rarely, additional blood testing is required.
- TREATMENT PLAN: A comprehensive review of all symptoms, exams, and imaging enables our doctors at VIE to provide definitive treatment recommendations.