Varicose veins are dilated superficial veins usually in the legs. They are usually a symptom of abnormal flow within the veins. Varicose veins may not cause pain or symptoms. When symptoms do occur patients often state they have a heavy feeling in the legs, burning, itching, throbbing, cramping or swelling. Varicose veins are usually worse after sitting or standing for long periods. Skin discoloration around the veins is another common finding.
Causes of varicose veins
Week or damaged valves within the veins caused the veins to dilate forming varicose veins. The cause of valve damage or weakening is unknown. However, varicose veins run in families. Varicose veins are more common in people who stand for long periods. They are more common in women and after pregnancy.
Left untreated some patients will go on to develop lower extremity ulceration. Also extensive varicose veins can result in blood clots. The affected leg may swell. Also the varicose veins are at risk of rupture and bleeding
The treatment of varicose veins
Treatment of varicose veins involves either the removal or blocking blood flow within these abnormal veins. Out dated treatments included surgical Vein “stripping”. Stripping is removal of the entire vein and is no longer the therapy of choice for venous insufficiency. Multiple new therapies have developed to treat varicose veins including blocking the vein with lasers, heating up the vein with radiofrequency , injecting a chemical to block the vein, or using an adhesive to seal the vein. These new less invasive therapies result in no downtime. Patients often report having improved symptoms immediately.