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  • 26 Dec 14

Vein disorders in vein valves are very common , but how much do you really know?  To learn how vein disorders are caused, and treated using  laser vein treatment options, micro surgery and vein injection treatment  it is important to first understand the venous valves that may be the underlying cause of spider veins, varicose veins, and venous insufficiency.

About two thirds of the blood in the body is held in the veins and a large percentage of that is in the leg veins.  Delivering blood out to the body is done via the arteries and is helped greatly by the pumping of the heart.  Gravity also helps for those areas that are located below the heart. However the return of blood back to the heart via the veins is much more challenging and complex.

The blood in the legs of an adult has to travel upward to reach the heart and lungs. There are also many obstacles it has to overcome.  These include its need to flow uphill against gravity, against the bodies weight, a distance of up to four or five feet (from ankle to heart) and all without  the benefit of a constant pump like the heart. Fortunately mother nature has helped aid this with the presence of one way valves in the veins.

These valves are essentially two flaps of tissue located within the walls of the veins and are scattered throughout the length of the veins. They allow blood to travel towards the heart by opening as blood is flowing through them. As they are only uni-directional they prevent the back flow of blood away from the heart. A very good video showing the function of vein valves can be seen here. This is essential for the circulation as you can imagine its not possible for blood in the ankle to simply ‘jump’ up to the heart in one step.  With the help of valves it is more of a step by step northward flow in the leg veins. In varicose veins the valves are often not functioning meaning that they are allowing blood to regurgitate back into the legs and not advance towards the heart.

The occurrence of these faulty valves has many underlying causes. These include factors such as  pregnancy, hormonal changes, obesity, increasing age and prior blood clots that can cause valves to malfunction. A family history of leg vein problems or being born with weak vein valves also contribute to the problem in some varicose veins patients..

Valves themselves can’t be fixed to work correctly but fortunately the treatment of their effects, varicose veins, spider veins, and vein valve failure, is often done using lasers, vein microsurgery and injection compression therapy.  Also it is always done on an outpatient basis at centers such as the Shulman Vein and Laser Center in Long Island and New York City.

About Lee Shulman MD

Dr. Lee G. Shulman M.D. was one of the very first physicians to be invited to take the board certification exam in Phlebology (the medical specialty devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of venous disorders), and even has the board certification certificate number #00045.

He was also done original work, being the first physician to ever lecture on the treatment of hand veins for cosmetic improvement, and the treatment of patients taking the blood thinner Coumadin. Dr. Shulman has been a member of the American College of Phlebology, the North American Society of Phlebology, the American Registry For Diagnostic Medical Sonography, the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, the American College of Angiology, the American Medical Association, and the New York State Medical Society.

Dr. Shulman has volunteered and gone to Mexico as a medical missionary with the Hackett Hemwall Foundation treating varicose veins and ulcerations in an indigent patient population on the outskirts of Guadalajara Mexico.

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