Varicose veins are common for individuals of all ages and walks of life. Many times, damage to a vein is not preventable, but fortunately, you have several viable treatment options. So what is a varicose vein, and what treatment is right for you? Shaheen Vascular in Mountain View, CA, can answer these questions and create a personalized treatment plan during your consultation.
What Is a Varicose Vein?
Veins run through your entire body and serve an important function. These blood vessels take blood that is oxygen-poor and return it to the heart. Veins keep your blood moving and hold the most blood in the body.
Varicose veins are veins that have become enlarged or twisted. They are commonly caused by weak vein walls or valves that fail to work properly. Damaged or weak vein walls and valves can cause blood to pool and sometimes flow backward, causing the varicose vein.
Many veins can become varicose veins. Visible varicose veins most often occur in the lower part of the body, including the legs, ankles, and feet, because of the increase in pressure. However, varicose veins can also happen in other parts of the body, including the pelvis, rectum, and esophagus.
Varicose veins vary in severity. While for some patients, varicose veins are solely a cosmetic concern, for others, these veins can cause more significant issues and discomfort. Fortunately, there are several treatment options for varicose veins, regardless of your motivation to seek treatment.
Common Symptoms of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins can cause various symptoms, depending on the severity. The most common symptom is the clear appearance of dark purple or blue veins that can also look enlarged or twisted. Other potential symptoms of varicose vein include:
- Pain: The area around the varicose veins may become painful and cramp
- Swelling: Swelling and throbbing around the varicose veins is common
- Itching: The varicose veins and surrounding area may itch
- Heavy Legs: The muscles in the legs can feel heavy and sluggish after activity
- Skin Discoloration: Untreated varicose veins can cause skin discoloration in the area
Because the symptoms of varicose veins can be unpleasant, patients often opt to treat them to help ease the discomfort.
Varicose Vein Treatment Options
Nowadays, there are several ways to treat varicose veins. Treatment options depend on the area where the varicose veins are located and the severity of the condition. Below are some of the most common and effective varicose vein treatments.
Compression stockings are long socks that typically go up to the knee. These stockings help promote circulation in the legs and are regularly worn by patients who are often on their feet for extended periods of time, like nurses and chefs.
Stockings alone cannot completely eliminate the possibility of varicose veins or make them go away. However, they are a great option to help improve usual symptoms, like swelling and varicose vein pain.
Ligation and Stripping
Vein ligation and stripping, also referred to as phlebectomy, is a minor surgery used to remove varicose veins. During phlebectomy surgery, an incision is made over the target vein, and the vein is tied off, or ligated.
Depending on the severity of the damage to the vein, veins, or the damaged part of a vein, may also be removed (stripped). This treatment may be a good option for some, as it can provide more permanent relief of varicose vein symptoms.
Laser Vein Removal
Laser vein removal has been used in the past to treat spider veins, a type of varicose vein that affects smaller blood vessels. Nowadays, lasers can be used to treat more significant varicose veins.
There are multiple kinds of lasers used specifically for varicose veins. Typically, during a laser treatment, a tiny fiber is inserted into the target vein through a catheter. That fiber emits laser energy that destroys the damaged portion of the vein, causing the vein to close and your body to absorb it.
Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure done under local anesthesia to treat larger varicose veins. During this treatment, a catheter is inserted into the affected vein through a small incision. Radiofrequency energy is sent through the catheter and into the vein. The heat causes the destruction of the damaged vein, and the body eventually absorbs it.
VeinGogh is a revolutionary treatment for small varicose veins. During this treatment, microburst technology is used to heat the damaged vein without causing harm to the outer layers of the skin. The procedure is similar to laser hair removal and takes little time to complete.
The Importance of Treating Varicose Veins
Varicose veins and treatment are unique to every patient. While many patients opt to go without treatment, it is often best to treat veins to avoid any further complications. Depending on your veins and the severity of the damage, varicose veins that go untreated could eventually lead to more serious issues, like blood clots, ulcers, and sores. Additionally, untreated varicose veins are also at risk of rupture. If you are dealing with varicose veins, it’s best to familiarize yourself with your options and decide what kind of treatment is best for you and your future.
Schedule a Consultation Today
You don’t have to live with varicose vein pain and the appearance of these veins on your skin. Several treatments are available to help treat and eliminate your varicose veins. When you are ready to take the first step toward varicose vein treatment, contact us at Shaheen Vascular in Mountain View, CA, to schedule your consultation.