What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are gnarled, bulging veins. These unsightly and often painful veins most commonly occur in your legs.
What causes varicose veins?
Varicose veins are typically a result of increased venous pressure. Patients can experience an increase in venous pressure for a variety of reasons. The main reason we see and treat for at Milford Vascular is caused by a disease called venous insufficiency. Venous pressure can also increase due to a decrease in cardiac output, renal failure, or arterial dilation which leads to venous obstruction.
Chronic venous insufficiency is a disease which affects 60% of the American population. The vein's job is to bring blood back to the heart. Leg veins face an uphill battle - they are fighting against gravity. They way veins counteract this
effect by having one-way valves in them. The valves close as the blood passes towards the heart and they do not allow blood to flow back towards the feet. In patients with venous insufficiency, these valves wear out over time. When the valves malfunction, there is nothing keeping gravity from pulling the blood back toward your feet.
Overtime, this leads to a buildup of pressure in the veins. This increased venous pressure causes a feeling of heaviness and tiredness in the legs. As the pressure increases, abnormal superficial veins begin to form. These can be larger bulging veins or smaller veins that look like spiderwebs.
Who is at risk for developing varicose veins?
Developing varicose veins is an abnormal process. Not everyone will get varicose veins. People who are at a higher risk for developing these unsightly veins include:
Professionals who sit or stand for long periods of time
People with a family history of venous insufficiency
People with a history of blood clots
People with excessive weight
Women who have been pregnant or had children
Females are at a higher risk than men due to the female hormones that circulate in the blood stream
How do we treat varicose veins?
Before we address the visual varicose veins, we have to treat the underlying condition causing them. This is important because the larger vein feeds the bulging veins and spider veins. The common procedures we use to close off the feeder veins include:
After the feeder vein has been closed off, the underlying problem has been treated. However, some large varicose veins may remain. If these leftover veins are not addressed they may become inflamed and clotted. Treatments for these veins include:
Ambulatory Phlebectomy (AP): this procedure is typically performed to remove very large, bulging varicose veins. During this procedure, the provider makes a number of small incision in the patient's leg. They will then use a hook to grab the vein and then gently tease the vein out.
Varithena: this treatment uses a foam injection to treat larger, varicose veins.
Sclerotherapy: a treatment which uses a solution which is injected directly into the varicose vein to causes it to close off and disappear. Sclerotherapy can be performed on larger, tributary veins or tiny spider veins.
If you have varicose veins, why should you have them treated?
While varicose veins are often visually unattractive, there are many clinical reasons to have your varicose veins treated. The sooner you have your veins treated, the less likely you are to develop adverse complications. Having varicose veins puts you at greater risk for developing blood clots, infections, bleeding, and limb threatening ulcers.
Don't wait to have your varicose veins treated! Procedures to combat venous insufficiency are covered by most insurance plans. If you have varicose veins call the Vein Team at Milford Vascular Institute today!