Varicose Veins/Chronic Venous Insufficiency
Varicose veins are enlarged veins that can be blue, red, or flesh
colored and they develop when the valves of the veins become damaged.
They are often raised above the skin on legs and look like twisted,
bulging cords. They can also be associated with pain, aches, heaviness,
restless legs, or burning and itching of the skin.
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Veins have one way valves to channel blood back to the heart. Varicose
veins develop when the valves of the veins become damaged. This causes
blood to pool in the veins, enlarging them and often making the veins
just beneath the skin visible.
Varicose veins are more common in women who are of childbearing age and
older. Other factors that increase your chance of getting varicose veins
Family members with varicose veins
Hormonal changes, as with puberty, pregnancy, or menopause
Pressure on the veins of the pelvis, as with pregnancy
Job that requires you to sit or stand for long periods of time
without much movement
Enlarged, twisted, and swollen veins that are visible through
Achy, tired, heavy feeling in the area of the varicose veins or
generally in the legs, especially after standing
Burning or throbbing pain in the legs
In severe cases, varicose veins may cause skin changes. These changes
occur under the area of the varicose veins and include:
Sores that are difficult to heal
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical
exam will be done. Varicose veins can be easily seen. An ultrasound exam
of your legs may also be done.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options may
include one or more of the following:
Conservative treatment is tried first to relieve symptoms. Steps
Avoid standing for long periods of time
Rest with your legs elevated
Flex legs occasionally when standing or sitting
for long periods
Wear compression stockings
Treatments Offered at the Center for Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
The following procedures are offered for the treatment of varicose
veins/chronic venous insufficiency depending on a patient’s diagnosis:
Endovenous Thermal Ablation. Endovenous thermal ablation
is a minimally invasive treatment that involves the insertion of
a thin, flexible tube called a catheter into a diseased vein and
uses heat to seal it shut. Blood that would normally return
toward the heart through these veins will then travel through
other veins instead. Over time the treated vein shrinks and is
absorbed by the body. Compared with surgical options like vein
stripping, endovenous thermal ablation results in less pain and
quicker average recovery time.
Vein Stripping. To perform vein stripping, a small
incision is made in the groin area and usually another incision
is made in the calf below the knee. Then a physician disconnects
and ties off all major varicose vein branches associated with
the saphenous vein, the main superficial vein in your leg. Then
the saphenous vein is removed from the leg.
Stab Phlebectomy. This procedure, also called ambulatory
phlebectomy, can be done alone or together with vein stripping.
Stab phlebectomy allows a physician to remove individual
varicose vein clusters from the leg using hooks passed through
small incisions. Because the incisions are so small, they don’t
require stitches, there is very little pain and a shorter
Varicose veins can't be completely prevented, especially if they run in
your family. The following recommendations may help:
Maintain a healthy weight
Try to avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time.
Try to avoid crossing your legs for long periods of time while
Keep your legs elevated when resting
Consider wearing support hose
At the Center for Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, every patient meets
with one of our highly skilled,
Conditions and Treatments
Vascular disease comes in many different forms and our world class
surgeons are experts at diagnosing and treating a wide-spectrum
of vascular diseases.
Cosmetic Vein Center
St. Elizabeth’s Cosmetic Vein
Center offers both cosmetic and therapeutic treatments of varicose
veins and spider veins.
The Vascular Lab provides
many types of testing and diagnostic services to help diagnosis a
variety of vascular diseases.
Many patients who come to the Center for Vascular and Endovascular
Surgery at St. Elizabeth's have
a story to share about their care, recovery, and success after
surgery or other treatments.
Center for Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
St. Elizabeth's Medical Center
736 Cambridge Street
Brighton, MA 02135