WHO IS AFFECTED?
There are 3 main types of vein problems.
1) SPIDER VEINS (telangectasias) are small, highly colored blue or red veins on the surface of the skin. They are easily treated with injections. Once injected, they begin to fade in two to three weeks, and are usually gone in two to three months.
2) RETICULAR VEINS are the medium size veins which are blue-green in color and lie just under the skin. Like spider veins, they are easily treated with injections.
3) VARICOSE VEINS (rope veins) most commonly arise from an abnormal connection between the deep veins and the surface veins. This allows blood to reflux (spill) from the deeper veins to the surface ones, usually the Greater Saphenous Vein, which travels from the groin to the ankle with numerous branches. These are treated with a minor office surgical procedure with local anesthesia, followed by injections. This treatment avoids hospitalization, avoids either general or spinal anesthesia, and avoids scars on the legs. In addition, there is essentially no down time.
Varicose veins primarily affect the legs and are frequently troublesome to people who are on their feet for long hours. Certain risk factors can play a role, such as heredity, aging, pregnancy, birth control pills, menopause, and obesity. If left untreated, varicose veins can lead to complications like slow healing leg ulcers and sores, chronic swelling around the ankles and lower legs, and the potentially life-threatening phlebitis.
WHAT ARE VARICOSE VEINS?
A series of one-way valves in veins let “used” blood flow at low pressure back to the heart but close at regular intervals to keep the same blood from returning. The valves in leg veins are especially susceptible to trouble because of the great weight of blood they must support.
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Varicose veins usually develop when these valves or the vein walls become weak. Pressure in the veins can then become abnormally high, causing the veins to balloon out and become varicosed. The trouble may start high up in the deep veins then extend to interconnected veins closer to the skin.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Some people with varicose veins have varying degrees of pain or discomfort. A feeling of heaviness in the legs, especially after standing for a long time, is an early symptom. Other common symptoms can include feelings of fatigue in the legs muscles, ankle swelling at the end of the day, itching around the ankles, tenderness and soreness along the veins, dull or stabbing pains in the leg, and leg cramps at night.
HOW ARE VARICOSE VEINS TREATED?
Although medical science has not yet discovered how to keep varicose veins from occurring treatments today – especially non-surgical sclerotherapy – are more effective than ever before. Sclerotherapy, the treatment of choice for typical varicose veins and “spider” veins, consists of simple injections of a special medication into the problem vessels. Even facial capillaries and hand veins can be safely treated. Over time, the medication will cause the veins to disappear.