What are varicose veins?
The term varicose veins refer to abnormal and unwanted veins that vary in size from small spider veins up to larger bulging veins. Spider veins commonly occur on the legs, face and other areas. Varicose veins occur on the legs. Common symptoms include aching, leg fatigue and heaviness, itching, throbbing, night cramps, restless legs and ankle swelling. Conservative measures such as walking, compression hose and leg elevation typically temporarily improve these symptoms.
Do varicose veins serve any useful purpose?
In the vast majority of cases, varicose veins do not serve any useful function. In fact, they are unhealthy veins. Removal of these veins may actually improve circulation.
What causes varicose veins?
The causes of varicose veins are unclear. However, some factors have been identified that may contribute to the development of varicose veins: family history of varicose veins, female hormones (internally produced or taken by prescription), pregnancy, trauma, age, obesity, and prolonged standing.
What can be done to prevent varicose veins?
Since the causes are still undetermined, prevention of varicose veins is debatable. However, maintaining a normal weight, walking, limiting the use of external female hormones, and wearing supportive stockings may help limit the disease's progression.
How many varicose vein treatments are necessary to remove such veins?
The severity and extent of each case will determine how many treatments will be required. Please consult with Dr. Matta for a more thorough evaluation of your specific needs and to determine the best method of treatment for you.
What can happen to varicose vein disease if left untreated?
Phlebitis, thrombosis (blood clots), spontaneous bleeding and skin ulcers are complications of varicose vein disease. Also, if varicose veins are left untreated, smaller abnormal veins may increase in number and are associated with worsening symptoms.
What is sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy involves injecting a mild salt solution ( or stronger solution for larger veins) into the affected vein to cause it to shrink.
Is it likely to have the varicose veins reoccur?
Varicose vein treatment is aimed at clearing the existing problem veins. As you age, it is common for other veins to develop. Most often these are new veins, although treated veins could re-open.
When is varicose vein treatment not advisable?
There are contraindications to treatment. These include, but are not limited to inability to ambulate, increased risk of developing blood clots, pregnancy and significant medical illness. It would not be effective to use sclerotherapy in a patient with an inadequate valve in the higher veins.
What are the side effects?
Most common side effects include bruising and pain. It is possible to get small skin ulcerations and secondary matting. Serious complications are rare and are best discussed with Dr. Matta.