Varicose Veins and Venous Disease

Did you know those unsightly veins in your legs can actually be a direct effect of your health? Varicose veins are one of the first signs of venous disease and can be chronic. Veins normally help to get blood to the heart but when you have venous disease, the blood has trouble traveling forward and can pool, in turn, causing your legs to swell.

What causes varicose veins?

Leg veins contain one-way valves that aid the return of blood to the heart. There are multiple factors that can cause varicose veins, they can be things that you do in your everyday life. If there is increased resistance to blood flow in the leg because of pressure, caused by prolonged standing or walking, or pelvic pressure from pregnancy, the veins can dilate with time. This causes the venous blood to move in a backward motion instead of forward. This Backward motion of blood flow in the vein is termed reflux. Reflux in the leg veins can cause venous blood to pool, resulting in dilation, or leaking of fluid. This causes the superficial veins to stretch and bulge making them more visible, and is usually associated with symptoms of leg heaviness or pain.

How are varicose veins treated?

Compression Stockings:

Compression stockings are a great initial therapy for patients with symptoms of leg heaviness, lower extremity pain, or swelling due to varicose veins. These are usually recommended by a medical professional as an adjunct to invasive therapy and to decrease the size of the varicose veins by increasing the support in the lower legs. The stockings can be purchased without a prescription and can help alleviate some minor symptoms such as swelling and pain, and can also aid in the healing of any skin breakdown or wounds associated with varicose veins.

Sclerotherapy:

The veins are injected with a sclerosing agent such as ethanolamine oleate. This procedure is mostly cosmetic and only used on the smaller, very superficial, capillaries within the skin. Some of the negatives to sclerotherapy is that it’s not covered by insurance and it’s not permanent.

The ClosureFast Procedure:

This procedure is performed in an office setting. Using ultrasound, the physician will position the catheter into the lumen of the dilated refluxing vein through a small opening in the skin. The small catheter delivers heat along the vein wall, causing the vein to shrink and eventually causing the vein to seal. This procedure is covered by most insurances and offers the patient minimal to no pain. The patient is recommended to wear the compression stockings after the procedure for a minimum of three weeks due to post procedure swelling and soreness. This is a definitive procedure, and is the best treatment for varicose veins.

VenaSeal Closure System:

This procedure is similar to the ClosureFast procedure. The VenaSeal closure system is a new definitive treatment for superficial varicose veins. Instead of using heat to the diseased vein it uses a medical adhesive sealing the vein permanently, without any post procedure pain or swelling. The patient doesn’t need to wear compression stockings after this procedure, and is generally a preferred method of therapy over the ClosureFast procedure.


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* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.