Varicose Vein Treatment
An estimated 40 percent of people in the United States have chronic venous insufficiency. The Vascular institute of Virginia is a trusted vein treatment center of excellence. Venous insufficiency can present itself as a spider or varicose veins and may be a sign of significant underlying venous disease. Venous insufficiency can be the result of heredity, age, gender, weight, history of deep vein thrombosis (blood clots), multiple pregnancies, inactivity and occupations that require prolonged sitting or standing.
Signs and Symptoms
- Swollen ankles
- Leg cramps
- Restless legs
When the veins are damaged, gravity will hinder normal blood flow causing blood to form pools in the weakened, damaged veins. The pooling blood causes these veins to enlarge. Twisted masses of veins beneath the surface of the skin, known as varicose veins, often result. Varicose veins are larger and located deeper in the leg than spider veins. Spider veins are small red, blue and purple veins on the surface near the skin.
How are Varicose Veins Treated?
There are generally 2 treatment options:
· Conservative measures such as the use of compression stockings and change in lifestyle
· Corrective treatments such as endovenous laser therapy(EVLT), ambulatory phlebectomy, and sclerotherapy.
Can Varicose Veins Be Prevented?
It is not possible to completely avoid varicose veins because there are several factors that contribute to their development, including genetics. However, some studies suggest that it is possible to reduce one’s risk of varicose veins by strengthening muscle tone and overall circulation. This can be done through:
- Regular exercise, especially types that strengthen the muscles of the lower legs.
- Eating a low-salt, high-fiber diet.
- Moving positions frequently throughout the day (avoiding sitting or standing for prolonged periods without movement).
- Wearing low-heeled shoes and avoiding tight hosiery.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Elevating the legs to help blood flow more easily out of them.
Are there permanent treatments for Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are treatable but not curable. This is because varicose veins form as a result of chronic venous insufficiency. This condition, in which the valves of some of the veins in the legs lose their strength, permanently damages those veins. They lose their ability to push blood back to the heart, so fluid pools in certain parts of the vein and causes swelling.
Will Varicose Veins go away on their own?
Neither varicose veins nor spider veins go away spontaneously. Even conservative treatments like compression and daily walking do not correct the issue. Once a valve loses its function and blood starts to stagnate, the vein is irreparable. That said, some people notice that their symptoms and the visibility of varicose veins may worsen at some times and improve at other times. Veins often become more symptomatic in hot conditions and less so during the colder winter months. Symptoms may also improve with regular exercise. However, an improvement in symptoms does not indicate fully functioning valves in the varicose vein.
The team at the Metropolitan Vascular Institute uses gentle, minimally invasive modalities to address varicose veins. The purpose of varicose vein treatment is to allow blood to reroute through healthy veins so ropey swelling and other symptoms go away.
How many Varicose Vein Treatments will I need?
Vein treatments can work very quickly in some cases and may take longer in others. It is difficult to predict exactly how many treatments a patient will need because we rely not only on the procedure but on the body to respond to the chosen modality. Treatment time can also depend on the type of treatment used. ClosureFast and VensSEal by Medtronic are the two top treatments used at The Vascular Institute of Virginia. Treatments are simple and proven effective, but some patients may need a handful of sessions to achieve their desired outcome. We generally expect this to occur in one to three appointments.
Who is the ideal candidate for Varicose Vein Treatment?
A doctor may recommend varicose vein treatment such as sclerotherapy, endovenous laser therapy, or ambulatory phlebectomy in certain situation, such as:
- Varicose veins are large and unsightly.
- One or more varicose veins have become tender, swollen, or warm to the touch.
- Skin over the varicose vein has become discolored or rough in texture.
- Additional symptoms such as cramping, aching, sores, a heavy sensation, leg fatigue, or restless leg syndrome are causing discomfort.
- A vein has started bleeding.
- Lifestyle remedies are no longer improving the condition.
Good vein treatment candidates also have realistic expectations related to cosmetic improvement based on their doctor’s input. Treatment cannot be performed on pregnant women or people taking a blood thinning medication, nor on patients with severe infection or illness.