Varicose veins affect approximately 45% of women and 15% of men. They can be caused by trauma, prolonged standing, heredity, and often worsen during pregnancy. They can be unsightly or cause discomfort. They occur when the valves in the veins no longer work properly and allow blood to back-flow and pool in the legs. Over time, the vein wall weakens and the veins begin to bulge. This may cause your legs to ache, burn, or swell.
In the past, there have only been a few treatments available for varicose veins. The three E’s (Elevation, Exercise, and Elastic Stockings), sclerotherapy, radio frequency, and vein stripping are the more common forms of treatment. Each has its own pros and cons.
The E’s are the least invasive, but who has the time to sit around with your legs up in the air? If your legs are aching, who is going to exercise? Radio frequency is the closure of the vein with radio waves and has a 10-20% recurrence rate. Vein stripping is an operation that must be performed in the operating room under general anesthesia. The recovery time is approximately 4-6 weeks. The scars are often times numerous and large not to mention the recurrence rate is approximately 30-40%.
After the medical evaluation of your veins, an ultrasound is performed to identify where and how bad your veins are damaged. This non-invasive diagnostic test is performed in our office by a certified vascular ultrasound technologist. It looks at the deep and superficial veins, checking for blood clots and incompetence (malfunctioning valves). Once testing is complete, the treatment course best suited for your type of veins is selected.