What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged, raised, swollen blood vessels that are most commonly found in your legs. The effects of varicose veins can vary from simply a cosmetic concern, to considerable pain, open skin ulcers, or blood clots.
Arteries carry blood from your heart to the rest of your tissues, while veins return blood from the rest of your body back to your heart, so the blood can be recirculated. In order to return blood back to your heart, your veins are working against gravity.
As the muscles in your legs contract, blood is pumped through your veins back to the heart. Tiny valves in your legs open as blood is sent to your heart, and then close to prevent blood from flowing back. When these valves are damaged or become weakened by disease, blood can flow backward and pool in veins causing the veins to twist and stretch.
What causes varicose veins?
- Occupations that require long durations of standing, such as nurses, salon workers, factory workers, teachers
- Use of birth control pills
- Hormonal effects of pregnancy, puberty, and menopause
- Postmenopausal hormonal replacement
- History of blood clots
- Certain health conditions that cause increased pressure on the abdomen, such as constipation or tumors
- Prior vein surgery
- Long exposure to UV rays
- Trauma to the skin
- Maintaining a healthy weight through exercise and diet
- Wearing compression socks/stockings
- Staying mobile by avoiding sitting or standing for extended periods
- Elevating your legs to prevent blood from pooling in your lower extremities
Tiny needles are used to inject a solution directly into the vein. This solution irritates the lining of the blood vessel, causing it to collapse. Over time, the vessel turns into scar tissue that fades over time.
A small incision is made to access the vein. A cathetar delivers radiofrequency energy to the vein wall, causing it to heat, collapse and seal shut. Once the diseased vein is closed, blood circulation is diverted to other healthy veins.
Microphlebectomy is sometimes recommended to treat unsightly or painful leg veins close to the skin’s surface. With microphlebectomy, varicose veins are removed through small punctures, which leave virtually no scars.