Varicose veins are the result of poorly operating valves within your veins. Your veins are responsible for returning the blood to your heart, which means they must work against gravity when returning blood from your legs and feet. When the valves are not working properly, it can cause the blood to pool and expand your veins, resulting in varicose veins and spider veins. The most common causes of varicose veins are age, genetics, and pregnancy.
Age: As you get older, your veins begin to lose their elasticity, which causes them to stretch, leading to varicose veins because the valves are weaker and the veins are enlarged.
Genetics: An inherited weakness of the vein wall can also lead to varicose veins. If you have a history of varicose veins in your family, you are more likely to have the condition as well.
Pregnancy: A common time for varicose veins to appear is during late pregnancy. This is because a woman’s uterus is exerting more pressure on the veins in her legs. Furthermore, the changes in hormones experienced during pregnancy can play a role in varicose vein development.
Other common causes: Other common causes of varicose veins are obesity, hormone replacement therapy, female oral contraceptives, and occupations that require an extended standing or sitting.
Varicose veins are a problem that can be successfully treated, but the disorder cannot be permanently cured. The treatment of the abnormal veins does not remove the original tendency of a patient to develop varicose veins. Therefore, many patients need to return for maintenance treatments after their initial treatment is completed.
Removal of these areas of abnormal circulation actually improves circulation of blood in the treated limb. The backward flow of blood in varicose veins interferes with the normal venous return of blood. This improvement in limb circulation reduces symptoms of tiredness and heaviness in the limb.
You only need to treat the affected areas, so if it is localized to one leg, only the abnormal limb needs to be treated. The abnormal limb or limbs should be treated thoroughly for best results. They may be treated at the same time or in separate sessions.
A venous ulcer is a complication of venous reflux disorder that is formally called a venous stasis ulcer. Early signs that a venous stasis ulcer may develop include a darkening of the skin in the area of the ankle. Gradually, the skin may become leathery or waxy in appearance. Without treatment of the venous disease, the skin may break down and form an open wound.
A venous duplex ultrasound is an examination of your leg veins using ultrasound technology to “see” how the veins are working inside your body. The venous duplex examination permits your phlebologist to see the anatomy and check the flow characteristics of the veins beneath your skin. Useful information is gathered that your physician can use to adequately diagnose your specific vein problem and to plan and guide treatment.
Sclerotherapy is the treatment of varicose veins by injecting the veins with chemicals that cause the destruction of the veins. Many patients who select this treatment option for cosmetic reasons notice an improvement in the way that their legs feel soon after treatment.
In order to control the backward flow of blood in these large veins, the vein that is the source of the visible varicosities must be sealed shut or removed. The vein may be sealed shut using energy sources such as a laser, or radiofrequency electrical energy (Vein Closure™), or by ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy injections.
Visual Sclerotherapy refers to the injection of surface veins that are visible to the naked eye. Some veins that need to be treated are below the surface of the skin and cannot be injected safely without the aid of ultrasound imaging assistance.
Most patients do not experience any complications from sclerotherapy. Some patients may develop changes in skin pigment in locations where the veins are injected. Rarely, patients may experience chemical burns of the skin and very rarely, a patient may develop an allergy to the medication. Serious complications such as deep vein blood clots and unintentional arterial injection are quite rare.
Light energy (laser) or electrical energy (radiofrequency) are endovenous thermal ablation procedures that may be used to seal abnormal main superficial trunk veins shut. Both treatments involve the application of heat energy to the inside of the long or short saphenous veins (SSV). This can be quite painful for the patient & Venous ablation is preferred if possible.
A vein treatment program is designed for each patient’s unique needs to achieve the best possible results. Vein treatment programs are designed to treat visible varicose veins and abnormal veins that may not be visible but are the source of the visible varicosities. If varicose veins are the only abnormality detected by the treating physician, the treatment involves surgical removal of the visible varicose veins (micro-incision phlebectomy) or the injection of chemicals (sclerosants) into the spider veins (sclerotherapy).
For the treatment of the visible veins to last, the source must be controlled as well, which is often not visible at the surface of the leg. From a practical standpoint, some insurance carriers will not pay for treatment of branch varicosities if an abnormal main trunk is not treated at the same time or before the branches are treated.
The properly fitted gradient compression stocking can temporarily reverse the effects of vein disease and lessen the discomfort and skin damage. Many insurance companies require a trial of stocking use before approving other treatment methods.
Yes. In most cases, insurances will cover the consultation and procedure for varicose veins as if left untreated, it can often lead to further, more serious medical complications.