Varicose Veins Dallas
Varicose Veins are a commonly known condition and are just as commonly misunderstood. Read below to discover the facts about the dangers of varicose veins and the solutions available to you.
What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged blue, red or flesh-colored veins that look like raised, twisted, rope-like cords on the legs. They are much more than a cosmetic issue for some 30 million men and women.
In fact, varicose veins are twice as frequent in the U.S. population as coronary artery disease and five times more frequent than peripheral artery disease.
What causes Varicose Veins?
Your veins have one-way valves to properly regulate blood flow back to the heart and lungs. When those valves are faulty, blood may leak backward and begin to collect or “pool” in the veins, causing varicose veins.
Over time, varicose veins can lead to chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), a more serious condition, in which it becomes increasingly harder for the leg veins to pump blood back to the heart.
What are the symptoms?
- Visible large veins just under the skin surface
- Swelling in the lower legs or ankles
- Heavy or tired feeling in the legs
- Leg cramping, pain, achy or itchy sensation
- Changes in skin color and texture
- Sores, ulcers or open wounds developing
Who is at risk?
- Age over 60
- Female (hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy or menopause may be a factor, as can birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy)
- Family history
- Standing or sitting for long periods
- Trauma to the leg
How are Varicose Veins diagnosed?
Varicose veins are diagnosed during a physical exam. Your doctor will take a medical history, examine your legs and ask you to describe the pain and other symptoms.
Additional noninvasive testing may be ordered, such as ultrasound scanning, which can evaluate blood flow in the veins and identify whether there are blood clots and blockages.
How are Varicose Veins treated?
Outpatient, Minimally Invasive Procedures:
Endovenous Laser Ablation Therapy (EVLT)
The EVLT procedure is performed most often on veins that are still relatively straight and untwisted. The EVLT procedure begins with the physician inserting a catheter into the varicose vein. Using ultrasound to see inside the patient, the doctor guides the catheter through the vein. A laser at the end of the catheter heats the walls of the vein, which closes it. This causes blood to stop flowing through the vein. As the body recovers after the procedure, circulation becomes more efficient since blood is not flowing through a faulty vein and the problem vein shrinks and fades.
Sclerotherapy is often considered the treatment of choice for small varicose veins. Sclerotherapy involves injecting a solution directly into the vein. The sclerotherapy solution causes the vein to collapse, forcing blood to reroute through healthier veins. The collapsed vein is reabsorbed into local tissue and eventually fades. After sclerotherapy, treated veins tend to fade within a few weeks to a month or more. In some instances, several sclerotherapy treatments may be needed.
Phlebectomy is a varicose vein removal procedure in which several small incisions are created in the skin through which the varicose vein is removed. In the majority of cases, stitches are not required.
High Ligation and Stripping of Varicose Veins
Vein ligation and stripping is a minor procedure that removes a damaged vein as well as prevent complications from vein damage. When multiple valves in a vein are heavily damaged, the vein is then removed, or stripped. An incision is made beneath the vein, and a flexible device is threaded through the vein and to the first incision, which is used to grasp and remove the vein. During this procedure, one or more incisions are created over the damaged veins, and the vein is closed or ligated. If the ligation serves to close a faulty valve, and the vein/valves beneath the faulty valve are still healthy, then the vein may remain in place to continue circulating blood.