Varicose veins and venous dysfunction affect 25 percent of the population. It's important to know the causes and symptoms of varicose veins and what potential treatment options are available.
Dr. John Morris explains what varicose veins are, and how they can be treated.
Varicose veins are bulging veins under the skin usually located in the legs. Valves in the veins help coordinate blood flow to the heart, but if the valve dysfunctions it causes the blood to pool, leading to increased venous pressure and causing the veins to get bigger over time.
There's also a subset of varicose veins called spider veins, which are smaller and form within the skin. People who have either of these veins can experience swelling, discomfort, heaviness, skin discoloration, ulceration, itching and cramping.
Fortunately, there are many treatment options available to relieve the symptoms of varicose veins such as:
- Conservative treatment with compression stockings and leg elevation can be used for temporary relief.
- Minimally invasive procedures are available to almost all patients and provide immediate long term relief of symptoms.
- Office-based procedures take less than one hour and are performed with local anesthesia. These procedures include ultrasound guided radiofrequency vein ablation, microphlebectomy and sclerotherapy injections. An entire extremity can be treated in one setting.
- Patients are allowed to do normal daily activities later that day. Strenuous athletic activity is limited for one week.
If symptoms are ignored, untreated varicose veins can lead to chronic pain, permanent skin changes, bleeding ulceration or blood clots.
Mercy Health Physician Partners Vascular Surgeons are board-certified and provide comprehensive diagnostic and therapeutic services. Call (616)-685-7850 for a consultation.