If you suffer from problems related to varicose veins and spider veins you are not alone! Venous insufficiency, also known as venous reflux disease, is the most common cause of varicose veins and affects nearly 30 million adults in the United States.
Veins serve an important function bringing blood back to the heart. We have two sets of veins in our legs, deep veins and superficial veins. These veins have one-way valves that normally direct blood flow in one direction, toward the heart. When these valves fail blood can flow the wrong way and pool, increasing the pressure in the veins. This is called venous insufficiency and is the driving force behind the development of varicose veins.
Varicose veins are not just a cosmetic issue. They can cause pain, throbbing, heaviness, leg fatigue, restless leg and swelling often worse at the end of the day. In more advanced cases patients can develop skin discoloration and even ulceration.
Risk factors include increasing age, a family history of varicose veins, professions that require long periods of standing or sitting, obesity and in women, pregnancy.
Unfortunately, venous insufficiency and varicose veins are a progressive problem and will only get worse over time. But don’t worry treatment is available and covered by most insurances.
Diagnosis begins with a thorough examination of the legs followed by a venous ultrasound. Ultrasound allows the vein specialist to see under the skin, giving a clear picture of how the veins look and are functioning. Treatment may include one or a combination of minimally invasive procedures. These include endovenous ablation which closes the diseased vein down from the inside with heat, or alternatively, placement of a medical adhesive in the vein to seal it shut. Large ropy veins sometimes need to be removed through tiny incisions in a procedure called ambulatory phlebectomy and sclerotherapy is a procedure where medication is injected into a vein causing it to collapse and eventually be reabsorbed.
All of these procedures are performed in an outpatient setting and often take less than an hour. Pain is minimal and recovery is quick with most people returning to normal activities the same day.
If you would like more information on venous insufficiency and varicose vein treatment please contact us today.