Capitol Vein Blog

Friday, May 31, 2013

"What If I Don't Have My Varicose Veins Treated?" wonders Winchester patient

Varicose veins left untreated can cause
more serious problems
Varicose veins are more serious than most people realize. And, many people are largely misinformed or unaware of the serious health risks associated with venous insufficiency.

Just recently, a woman from Winchester, Virginia contacted me after a physician told her she was too obese to undergo treatment. Aware that her weight was an issue, she still had the good sense to ask “what will happen if I don’t have my varicose veins treated?”

I've see many cases of misinformation and misunderstanding regarding varicose veins that have led to more serious conditions. In a similar case to the woman from Winchester, I treated a patient with   had sought advice from another physician several years ago for the same condition, though she did not have the skin discoloration you see on the photograph. That doctor told her that she was too heavy to undergo treatment and sent her away.  This unfortunate woman complied with wearing support hose as directed, but did not follow up for quite a while. When she came to my office, she had very advanced, permanent skin changes we see in patients who neglect their venous disease.

The issue of being "too heavy for vein treatment" is largely a myth. Obesity will put extra pressure on the leg veins and some of us have a genetic tendency to weak vein walls. And of course, obesity presents other health risks so CVL always encourages good weight management. However, in patients with significant symptoms, treating the underlying venous disease is advantageous even as patients undergo weight reduction. 

The evaluation of this condition consists of a doppler ultrasound of the entire leg to assess for both blood clots and reflux in the leg veins. When backflow is seen in the saphenous vein, the most common cause of varicose leg veins, the Venefit Procedure (VNUS Closure) is the ideal treatment. Micro-phlebectomy is often a very useful adjunct in large veins as seen here.  Insurance will often cover treatment for varicose veins, recovery is immediate, and patient satisfaction is very high.  

To avoid complications of venous disease, be sure to seek advice from an experienced vein expert, preferably one who is a member of the American College of Phlebology and the American Venous Forum.

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