Capitol Vein Blog

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Learn How to Avoid Discoloration of Your Legs Due to Varicose Veins

Varicose veins occur when the direction of blood flow, normally from the lower leg to the upper, is reversed due to weakened vein valves and walls. Veins are very fine delicate structures that have one-way valves which propel the blood against the force of gravity. If you have a weakness of the veins, blood goes backward down the leg, causing elevated pressures in the calf and ankle tissues.

As blood swells these lower leg veins, there are some blood cells that leak out of the vein walls and deposit in the surrounding tissues. As your body absorbs the blood, the pigment, made of iron, remains behind and can become deposited, leading to the rusty dark discoloration so often seen with long-standing venous insufficiency. This is known as hyperpigmentation or venous stasis dermatitis. Unfortunately, once the discoloration occurs, it rarely disappears, even after successful vein treatment. Also, if left untreated, the damaged skin may progress to chronic sores and ulcers which are exacerbated by the elevated venous pressures.

Fortunately, treatment of varicose veins is highly effective and can help prevent the discoloration of the lower leg. When we evaluate patients with varicosities, we first obtain a venous duplex scan, which gives us a roadmap of the anatomy and helps us discuss with you the best alternative to re-establish normal vascular flow in the leg.

The saphenous vein is the common source of varicose veins, and if we close that vein, or eliminate the backflow in the leg, we significantly reduce the pressures in the calf and ankle and minimize the risk of skin damage. VNUS Closure, Clarivein, and VenaSeal are all well accepted and effective methods to treat saphenous vein venous reflux. Phlebectomy is used for the superficial surface veins. The choice of best treatment is best discussed with your vascular surgeon.

As a temporary method to reduce the elevated vein pressures, the use of medical graded knee high support hose are beneficial. The hose do not cure the venous insufficiency, because when you remove the stockings the symptoms recur.

If you have varicose veins, or even in the absence of visible veins but in the presence of darkening of the lower leg skin, you should seek evaluation by a qualified vascular surgeon with an expertise in managing venous disease.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Learn About Reducing Blood Clot Risk With Varicose Veins Treatment

Blood clots are a potentially life-threatening event that may requires urgent medical attention. Clots can occur in two zones of leg veins, the deep and the superficial. Deep veins reside internally near the leg bones and provide a direct pathway to the central circulation of the heart and lungs, and when a clot occurs in these veins (DVT), blood thinning medication is generally required to prevent complications related to the clot traveling.

Small superficial clots (known as phlebitis), while painful, usually are not threatening unless they progress to involve the deep vein system. It is necessary to understand the extent of the clot which is why and ultrasound examination is so valuable. Medications such as Motrin, Advil or Ibuprofen are very effective at easing the pain of superficial clots.

Varicose veins are a recognized risk factor for developing phlebitis because the normal flow in the veins is disrupted when they become varicose. These protruding surface veins often cause symptoms of aching, leg fatigue, swelling and even lower leg skin discoloration due to the elevated pressures within the veins. Clots that develop within varicose veins can become extensive and elevate the risk for spread to the deep veins. Close observation and medical attention is advisable.

Due to the progressive nature of varicose veins and the risks associated with no treatment, we suggest an evaluation with examination and duplex ultrasound to detail the extent of the venous disease. Fortunately, treatment of varicose veins with VNUS Closure or Venaseal is a low risk and highly effective, durable option that can markedly ease the symptoms of venous insufficiency and also reduce the risk of clot formation. Eliminating the venous reflux (backflow) normalizes the vein circulation as other functional veins take over.

Occasionaly we perform phlebectomy of surface veins to further reduce symptoms. All of the venous procedures are office based and performed under local anesthesia which allow return to most normal daily activities immediately after treatment.

Learn more about blood clots and their relationship to varicose veins by scheduling an evaluation with your local vascular surgery expert who can help you understand the advisability of treatment.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

See How New Technologies Allow Major Advances in Varicose Vein Care

As technologies change, so does our ability to advance treatment of varicose veins. We replaced "old fashioned" vein stripping with thermal ablation techniques around 1999, and VNUS Closure has remained the most effective and painless method of treating veins that have a refluxing saphenous vein as the source of the venous hypertension.

VNUS Closure is an office based, local anesthesia procedure that allows immediate recovery. We use several access sites to instill local anesthesia along the vein so the heat used to close the vein is not felt by the patient.

Clarivein is a newer technique that allows us to effectively close the saphenous vein without using the local anesthesia that is necessary for VNUS Closure. This is a somewhat more comfortable procedure for the patient and still allows immediate recovery to normal activity.

Varicose veins occur because the one-way valves in the veins, which should propel the blood up the leg, become defective and weak. Gravity's pressure then pushed blood backward down the leg, leading to the problems associated with varicose veins. We advocate treating veins that cause symptoms of aching, throbbing, itching and swelling because when left untreated, they often progress to blood clots and skin discoloration or even ulcer formation.

Patients can help alleviate these varicose vein symptoms by using graded support hose, increasing activity level to improve venous circulation, and elevating the legs when able. These efforts will reduce the effect of gravity pushing down on the veins.

As always, seeking advice from a well trained and experienced vascular surgeon is your best option is finding the option that is best for your individual case.