Spider and Varicose Veins Treatment Program
Spider and Varicose veins have a modern approach to their management, from compression stockings therapy to minimally invasive surgery.
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Veins are the blood vessels that carry blood back to your heart. Some of these veins are deep inside the muscle, some are superficial lying just beneath the skin, and the rest connect the deep veins to the superficial veins. Veins contain one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing in the wrong direction when someone is standing. When sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time, blood can pool in the veins of your legs, increasing the pressure within them. Overtime this stretching can weaken the walls of the veins and damage the valves. When this happens, blood backs up in the legs due to faulty valves and varicose veins result. They are visible through the skin as bulging, bluish twisted veins. Spider veins are mild, small varicose veins and look like a small collection or red, blue, or purple lines under the skin.
Why do I have Spider and Varicose Veins?
There are several factors that can increase your risk of developing spider or varicose veins:
- Family history of varicose veins
- Lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyle
- Standing or sitting for long periods of time
- Female gender
- Age 30-70
- History of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
How are Spider and Varicose Veins diagnosed?
A physical examination is done to determine the texture and color of prominent veins and how they fill with blood. Patients may report symptoms of their legs feeling tired, achy, or restless. Sometimes rashes or sores develop and legs may be itchy or swollen.
The physician will next order a duplex ultrasound to measure the speed of blood flow and to see the structures of the veins. This test can help the physician decide if there are any other underlying issues that require further testing.
What are my treatment options for spider and varicose veins?
- Compression stockings: Elastic stockings that squeeze your veins and prevent excess blood from flowing backward through the valve. Patients wear these daily for several months to see if this alleviates the pain and swelling associated with the varicose veins.
- Sclerotherapy: This procedure involves injecting a chemical irritant into the affected veins, which causes the vein to scar from the inside out. These veins no longer fill with blood and the body will eventually absorb them. This can be quickly performed in the outpatient clinic by either a physician or well-trained nurse.
- Vein stripping: This procedure involves making a small incision in the groin and another below the knee. The diseased varicose vein is tied off and then removed from the leg.
- Microphlebectomy: During this procedure, small varicose veins are removed through very small incisions in the leg, with no stitches necessary. It can be performed under local anesthetic in the outpatient clinic.
- Laser Venous Ablation: During this procedure, a thin, flexible tube called a catheter is inserted into a vein in the leg. A small fiber laser at the tip of the catheter heats the walls of the veins and destroys them, closing off the vein completely. This is performed in an outpatient clinical setting and the patient can resume normal activities the following day.
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