If you have noticed bulging, discolored veins twisting under the skin of your legs, you are likely experiencing varicose veins. This usually benign condition can cause you to become overly self-conscious and may lead you to avoid activities like swimming or tennis that you really enjoy. The Oakland, New Jersey office of Cardiac Associates of North Jersey offers several reliable varicose vein treatment options that can help.
A relatively common medical condition, varicose veins are formed when blood pools in small surface veins. This causes the veins to take on a blue, green, or purplish hue. Varicose veins are often described as looking like pieces of coiled rope just under the surface of your skin.
How They Form
Although causes can vary, the most common reason varicose veins occur is due to a faulty valve inside your vein. These valves are designed to allow blood to flow in a single direction. Whether from age or an abnormality, sometimes valves fail. This allows blood to become stagnant and pool in that section of the vein.
You may notice smaller spider veins appearing at first. However, as this accumulation of blood leads to increased pressure within the vein, it results in the bulging and distorted appearance of varicose veins. That may be why people with consistently high blood pressure are more likely to experience varicose veins and other venous disorders.
Another, less common, reason varicose veins may form is due to thin vein walls. Your veins have relatively thin walls because they are not designed to carry blood under pressure. If the already thin vein walls are stretched, it can cause the bulged appearance of varicose veins.
For most people, the decision to treat varicose veins is a cosmetic one. If you are tired of hiding your legs under wraps, long skirts, or pants no matter what the season, then you might want to consider a varicose vein treatment that can help you achieve clearer, smoother skin.
There are times when varicose veins cause discomfort, too. Symptoms can range from pain and swelling to intense itching in the surrounding skin. If your varicose veins are causing any of those symptoms, you should consider talking to a vein specialist about treatment options.
Varicose vein treatment range from conservative lifestyle adaptations to relieve symptoms to surgical removal of veins. The most common options fall in between those extremes. They are radiofrequency (RF) or laser ablation and sclerotherapy.
This is a minimally invasive varicose vein treatment option that uses an irritant to destroy veins from within. Most sclerosants are saline-based, and they may have a liquid or gel consistency. Once injected into the affected vein, it causes irritation and swelling.
As the treated vein swells shut and begins to break down, the blood flow will be diverted to nearby healthy veins. The affected vein will eventually be reabsorbed back into your body.
If you are looking for an option that has a long history of successfully treating varicose and spider veins, sclerotherapy may be a good choice for you. It has been used since the 1930s to treat venous disorders, and it is an excellent choice for small or medium-sized varicose veins.
What to Expect
The entire treatment should take less than an hour from start to finish. It is minimally invasive and can be performed on an outpatient basis.
The sclerosant is injected into the affected vein through a small needle. It is similar to having blood drawn. A small bandage may be applied to the area once it is complete.
Results and Recovery
Results can take several weeks to a month to notice. This is how long it takes for your veins to become reabsorbed into the surrounding area. You may need multiple treatments to eliminate larger varicose veins. However, once they are gone, they will not return.
Talk to your cardiologist to determine if sclerotherapy is a good choice for treating your varicose veins.
During a venous ablation, a catheter is inserted into the vein. Ultrasound imaging is then used to guide a probe through the catheter. This delivers pulses of either laser light or radiofrequency waves. They heat the vein tissue, causing it to scar and die.
What to Expect
Ablation sessions will usually last between 45 minutes and one hour. It is similar to having a standard IV catheter inserted. You may need additional time before for preparation. The treatment will use a local anesthetic to help keep you comfortable. It is considered minimally invasive and can be performed in your doctor’s office or an outpatient vein center.
Results and Recovery
Results are usually very promising with ablation treatments. They are excellent for larger, more complex varicose veins. As with sclerotherapy, you will need for the affected vein to get reabsorbed before full results are noticeable.
You may need to use compression on the insertion site for the first few days following your treatment. You may be encouraged to walk afterward, but you should probably plan to avoid strenuous activity for at least a few days.
Ultimately, choosing the best varicose vein treatment for you will be a personal decision made between you and your doctor. While these veins are normally only a cosmetic concern, they can be an indicator of other, more serious, venous diseases and health conditions. That is why seeking care from a cardiologist with experience in venous disorders can help you make an informed choice.