Many people develop varicose veins as they grow older. While these may not have any symptoms, many people choose vein treatment for cosmetic reasons. However, varicose vein treatment is also important to prevent complications of vein disease such as thrombophlebitis and deep vein thrombosis. Here’s what you need to know about varicose vein treatment, courtesy of Dr. Tif Siragusa, of the Siragusa Vein and Laser Center.
Varicose Veins and Important Symptoms
Varicose veins occur because the tiny flaps of tissue called valves stop working properly, This allows blood to pool in the legs, creating the distended, tortuous veins. While these may not cause symptoms, in other cases people report swelling of the legs, pain, itching or leg cramps. In severe cases, ulcers may develop over the veins. The condition may also progress to what is called thrombophlebitis – inflammation of the vein walls with the formation of blood clots, known as deep vein thrombosis or DVT. If the blood clot breaks loose and blocks an artery in the lungs, it can cause severe shortness of breath, dizziness and chest pain.
Risk Factors for Varicose Veins
Heredity is probably the biggest risk factor for varicose veins. Even people without a family history, however, can be more susceptible as they grow older. Women are at higher risk than men and varicose veins often appear during pregnancy. People who are inactive, especially those who spend long periods sitting, are more likely to develop varicosities. Occupations that require long periods of standing also increase the risk of this condition. Obesity is another risk factor.
Varicose Vein Treatment – Conservative Therapy
For those who have minor problems with varicose veins or who prefer conservative therapy, the first step is usually the use of compression stockings. These are prescription-strength support hose that compresses the swollen leg veins and helps improve blood flow back to the heart. Elevating the legs also helps decrease swelling. Those who smoke or use tobacco should stop. Weight loss is usually recommended and exercise helps promote circulation.
Other Varicose Vein Treatments
Most of the treatments recommend for varicose veins today are minimally invasive procedures that can be performed in a doctor’s office. They require no more than local anesthetic. Vein stripping – a major surgical procedure – is rarely recommended. Downtime is minimal, and with the exception of strenuous exercise, most patients return to normal activity within a few days. Among the typical treatments are:
- Sclerotherapy – The doctor injects a special solution or foam into the vein, causing swelling and collapse.
- Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT) – lasers use a burst of heat to make the vein swell and collapse.
- Microphlebectomy – after administration of local anesthesia, the doctor makes tiny cuts in the vein and pulls it out.
If you have varicose veins, please contact us at 615-777-0744 for a free vein treatment screening. In addition to extended hours, we offer two locations, one at 28 White Bridge Pike in Nashville and one at 5651 Frist Boulevard in Hermitage. Dr. Siragusa can help relieve symptoms of varicose veins and improve the appearance of your legs.