Varicose veins are normal veins which have become abnormal because of a change in the pattern of circulation elsewhere in the leg. They are large, rope-like veins that often cause discomfort in the form of pain with prolonged periods of standing.
Normally, veins are designed to move blood upwards, against gravity, utilizing a special mechanism of valves. In some people, these valves can be disrupted so that blood flows the wrong way down the leg, a condition called venous reflux. Reflux leads to congestion lower down in the leg, causing veins which would ordinarily be invisible to become stretched, engorged, visible, and painful.
Varicose veins are the most common form of vascular disease, affecting between 15%-25% of all adults, and approximately 50% of people over the age of 50. Approximately half of the population has some form of vein disease, with women having a higher incidence than men.
Symptoms of Varicose Veins
In addition to the visual appearance, many patients may experience one or more of the following leg symptoms:
- Pain (an aching or cramping feeling)
- Burning or tingling sensations
- Tender areas around the veins
Can Varicose Veins Be Prevented?
Most often, heredity is the number one contributor to the development of reflux and varicose veins. Preventing the development of varicose veins can be aided by:
- Exercising regularly (walking is ideal)
- Avoiding standing for long periods of time
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Use of a compression stocking
Treatment of Varicose Veins
In the past, procedures were performed in a hospital setting with general anesthesia, large incisions, stitches, a long recovery period, and a poor long-term result. Presently, our procedures are performed in an outpatient setting, using local anesthesia with no incisions. Most procedures take about 45 minutes, after which you will walk out and resume your normal activities that same day.
There are several treatment modalities that we use, all of which are safe and very effective, which will be discussed with you at your initial visit.