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Leg Vein FAQ’s

What Are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are abnormally enlarged, protruding surface veins seen in the legs. These veins do not work correctly to help blood in the legs travel back up to the heart. The one-directional valves in them are not working properly, allowing gravity to force blood to accumulate in the legs. Varicose veins have an elevated pressure within them and can make you more likely to have other medical complications such as varicose ulcer, swelling (edema), venous insuffiency, and infections. Additionally, varicose veins can cause blood clots (phlebitis).

What Causes Varicose Veins?

The causes of varicose veins are sometimes hard to completely figure out.  Among the most common reasons for developing varicosities are a family history of veins, pregnancy, prior leg vein blood clots (also called phlebitis, or DVT- deep vein thrombosis), prolonged standing, obesity, aging, and increased abdominal straining.

Rare congenital conditions such as Klipple-Trenaunay syndrome and Parkes-Weber syndrome are also possible causes of varicose veins.

What Causes Spider Veins?

What are the causes of spider veins? How can they be prevented? These are common but difficult questions to answer. It’s generally believed that spider veins or broken veins are caused by female hormones. These veins are much more prevalent in women and develop over time. They often appear or worsen with pregnancy or the presence of other varicose veins. There are also rare congenital causes of spider veins.

Preventing spider veins from occurring does not seem possible. Support stockings may provide some relief, but they will not prevent spider or varicose veins from forming.

How Can I Prevent Varicose Veins?

Preventing varicose veins from forming is only somewhat within your control. Many factors are uncontrollable facts of life, such as genetics, aging, a history of blood clots, and bipedal lifestyle. The few possibly controllable factors are pregnancy and obesity.

No medical study has ever shown that wearing support hose or support stockings prevents varicose veins from forming or even slows their formation.

Why Do Varicose Veins Cause Pain?

Blood pooling in the legs and adding pressure within the veins can cause pain in individuals with varicose veins. There may also be a heavy, tired, achy feeling in addition to swelling (edema) in the legs. As far as what to do for painful varicose veins, support stockings, leg elevation, or vein therapy should help relieve many pain symptoms.

Why Do Some Veins Look Blue?

The reason some veins appear blue on your body involves color wavelengths and the skin’s absorption of light. Of course, the blood is red, and very small veins on the face or legs look red. True varicose veins often have a normal skin tone, as they are still superficial veins but are a bit deeper inside the legs and have more skin over them. Blue veins tend to be even more superficial and have less skin over them.

Is Varicose Vein Stripping and Ligation Surgery Still Done?

Old-fashioned varicose veins operations like stripping and ligation are just that – Old fashioned. They have been replaced with modern laser procedures for leg veins, microsurgery with only local anesthesia, and injection therapy. The newer and more cutting edge therapies used today also avoid the need for general anesthesia, preventing the large scars previously left over from stripping and ligation operations.

Do Laser Treatments Work for Veins?

Laser treatment for varicose veins has been a relatively new procedure, a great advance, and possibly the best way to get rid of varicose veins. The varicose vein laser treatment is endo-venous, meaning it works on the inside of the vein. The procedure involves sliding a very thin laser fiber up the varicosity. It’s done using only local anesthesia in the leg, and all our patients can drive themselves home right afterwards, resulting in minimal varicose vein removal recovery time.

‘External lasers’ for spider veins have generally been unsuccessful. We see many patients who have tried spider vein lasers and were unhappy with the results.  Unfortunately, there is no magic wand to remove spider veins. If there were, we’d certainly have it!

Does Wearing Support Hose Prevent Varicose Veins?

Preventing varicose veins with support hose use has never been proven. While you may feel relief from varicose vein pain and have less leg swelling with hose, there is no medical study showing that the use of stockings prevents vein formation or slows their progression.

If they provide relief, certainly wear them, but be sure that they are not too tight or tourniquet-like at the uppermost seam, as this can cause varicose veins to worsen.

Can I Go in the Sun After Varicose or Spider Vein Treatments?

Yes, you can, and yes, people do it all the time! People around the world, even in the sunniest cities, get their varicose veins treated all the time; It’s not a winter only event!

Since the sun darkens the skin, we don’t want any treated areas to become even more discolored, so we only ask that you use sunblock with a high SPF. This will allow us to achieve the best results possible.

Do varicose veins cause blood clots?

Varicose veins can develop thrombophlebitis, which is the development of small blood clots within the veins. Veins become enlarged when the walls of the veins are weakened. These will appear under the skin as blue in color or bulging. Conditions like these can cause the blood clots to move further up the veins, causing an increase in pain, and ultimately resulting in venous ulcers. Learn more about what causes varicose veins.

Where do varicose veins come from?

Varicose veins appear when the valves within veins are weak or damaged. Loss of elasticity within the veins causes the damage to the valves, as well as prior blood clots known as phlebitis. These valves carry blood from the heart, but when damaged, the blood starts to pool within the veins. The veins increase in size and become varicose veins. These can also be caused by different factors such as age or pregnancy. Discover more about the causes of varicose veins today.

Can varicose veins go away?

Varicose veins symptoms can be improved by avoiding tight fitting clothing, using compression stockings and regular exercise, but the veins themselves will not fully dissipate without medical intervention. More serious cases can develop into loss of tissue resulting in ulcers on the skin, for example ulceration can happen right above the ankles. Laser treatments, micro surgery and injection therapy are the best option for completely removing varicose veins. Discover more about the treatment of varicose veins now.

What is the difference between spider veins vs varicose veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged blood vessels where the walls of the vein are weakened. These can typically appear swollen and above the level of the skin. Spider veins are capillaries that surround the varicose veins and may indicate at times inflammation. These are smaller than varicose veins and appear closer the surface of the skin. Learn more about spider vein removal today.

Can varicose veins be removed?

Yes. There are several options. Most of the veins, both varicose and spider, that are treated worldwide are treated using a treatment called ligation, which involves tying malfunctioning veins together through a small incision over the affected area. Another treatment option is called venous ablation, which is the removal of malfunctioning veins that are pooling blood. Through an injection procedure called sclerotherapy, the vein specialist will inject a liquid solution into the vein, which causes the walls of the vein to become slightly irritated and then stick together, thus shutting the vein. This causes the blood to stop flowing and the veins to scar shut onto themselves. The vein will then dissipate and no longer be visible or operable. Other methods include microsurgery called ambulatory phlebectomy in which the veins are ‘fished out’ through small incisions, and endo venous laser procedures in which a laser is used to shut the veins. The laser and ablation procedures are done without any need for incisions. Discover more about varicose vein treatment and removal today.

Are spider veins dangerous?

Spider veins are certainly not life threatening. While not a serious medical condition, spider veins can cause other symptoms like swelling and restless leg syndrome. A comprehensive care plan can help alleviate and remove the incidence of spider veins. Discover more about spider veins now.

What is the best treatment for spider veins on legs?

There are relatively few treatments available for spider veins. Injection therapy has stood the test of time and is the procedure used on most spider vein treatments around the world today. With injection therapy, using the smallest needles manufactured, a solution is injected into the vein that will cause it to shut onto itself so it is no longer visible, and the procedure encourages the dissolution of the vein.

The use of lasers may someday offer real results but thus far the results are poor and the risk of burns and blisters is great.

Consult with your doctor about your options. Learn about your options for spider vein treatment.

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