Understanding Varicose Veins and Treatments in Logan, UT
Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) is a common circulatory problem in which the leg veins do not function properly to return the blood to the heart. CVI may cause visible signs such as varicose or spider veins, skin discoloration of the lower legs and ulcers. It may also cause symptoms such as leg pain, swelling, discomfort, heaviness, throbbing, itching, numbness, aching, muscle cramping and and a general uncomfortable feeling of your legs. Some also have reported having to constantly move their legs in order to feel better - termed Restless Leg Syndrome.
Do I Need To Be Tested For CVI?
If you have even a few of the symptoms noted in the above paragraph, or have one leg larger than the other, a family history of varicose vein problems, and /or work in a job that has you standing most of the time, you may have Chronic Venous Insufficiency. Testing for CVI is a duplex ultrasound study of the blood flow in the veins of the leg. This is a different evaluation than an ultrasound for a blood clot. This evaluation needs to look at the blood flow and the direction of the blood flow. In CVI, if the blood flows backwards longer than 1/2 of a second, the vein is not functioning properly and needs to be addressed.
Medical treatment includes wearing Compression Stockings of 20-30 mm of compression, NSAIDS (Ibuprofen type medications) for pain, Regular Elevation of the legs, and mild exercise such as walking, cycling, or swimming. Surgical treatments are noted below. They involve removing or closing the vein so that the blood flow is redirected into functioning veins to return to the heart.
Are Varicose Veins and Spider Veins the Same?
While weakened blood vessel walls cause both varicose and spider veins to develop it’s important to recognize that these veins are different. Spider veins are often very thin blue or red branch-like lines that do not cause symptoms while varicose veins are bulging blue blood vessels that often pop out from the surface of the skin.
Not only do varicose veins impact your appearance but they can also cause unpleasant symptoms such as swelling, cramping, stinging and discomfort, most often in the legs where they commonly appear. While they aren’t known to cause blood clots or other serious complications sometimes the symptoms associated with varicose veins can be uncomfortable or can worsen over time.
Surgical Treatment for Varicose Veins
In the past, traditional surgical methods for removing varicose veins often left patients having to deal with several weeks of post-surgical recovery and visible scars; fortunately, thanks to modern medical technology, we offer several ways to remove varicose veins without the need for more invasive surgical techniques.
Specifically known as endovenous laser ablation, this procedure is performed under local anesthesia and can be completed in about 60 minutes. During this procedure, a catheter is inserted into the vein. The catheter heats up and closes the vein (Thermal Ablation). Since the vein is sealed, blood can no longer pass through it. Over time the body will reabsorb the vein. Most patients can return to their normal activities in about two days after this treatment.
This procedure is similar to endovenous ablation in that a catheter is inserted into the vein. A specialized adhesive is the used to seal the vein closed (Chemical closure). With the vein sealed, blood can no longer pass through it. Unlike thermal ablation, the vein does not reabsorb over time. This procedure has the advantage of less local anesthesia and immediate return to normal activities.
During this minor surgical procedure, our surgeon will make a small incision into the skin to remove the vein with a special surgical tool that will allow us to remove rather large varicose veins through a very tiny incision, which means a subtle and often unnoticeable scar. If you have deeper incompetent veins we may recommend getting endovenous ablation before phlebectomy for the best results.
This procedure is commonly used to treat spider veins and sometimes used to treat varicose veins. During sclerotherapy, the vein is injected with a special solution to cause inflammation and closure (Chemical Ablation). Just like with endovenous ablation therapy, once the vein collapses it will be reabsorbed by the body. The veins are usually more noticeable after treatment but are absorbed over the next few months and disappear.
Do your varicose veins cause your legs to look like road maps? If so, then you may be tired of just covering this problem up. Of course, if the idea of wear long pants in the summertime and not getting to enjoy days at the pool sounds less-than-ideal then our Logan, UT, surgeon. We offer advanced treatment options that will help you get rid of varicose and spider veins.