Capitol Vein Blog

Friday, June 6, 2014

Don't Delay Varicose Vein Treatment

I have been asked by patients, and even some physicians, "What can happen if I don't get my varicose veins treated?" The photo on the left is a perfect example of the complications that can arise when this condition is ignored. This middle-aged woman works in retail and stands for many hours a day.  Despite being very compliant wearing support hose, she has noted increasing pain, swelling, and discoloration of the lower leg over the years.

Normal venous flow travels up the leg against the constant downward pressure of gravity. Normally, one-way valves prevent backflow of blood and the veins allow upwards flow. However, with varicose veins, these one way valves don't work well and gravity causes pooling of blood down the lower leg. This elevated pressure in the veins is then transmitted to the surface, leading to typical varicosities.

Many people with varicose veins have symptoms of aching, throbbing, and heaviness associated with the higher than normal pressures, but some even experience restless legs and skin discoloration as seen above. The elevated vein pressure allows some of the blood cells to leak through the vein wall into the tissues.  You body breaks down these leaked blood cells and the pigment deposits in the tissues, leading to the bronzing and browning of the skin. 

While we can very effectively treat the venous reflux with either the Venefit Procedure or Varithena, unfortunately the skin discoloration is often permanent. This is one reason we encourage treatment of varicose veins once they are diagnosed. The first step is a venous ultrasound (duplex scan) that can provide a complete analysis of the venous system.

You should be aware that most insurance companies consider the treatment of varicose veins medically necessary, and therefore coverage is usually good. Treatment is office based, under pure local anesthesia, allowing immediate return to normal activities. I would advise you to seek the opinion of a member of the American College of Phlebology or the American Venous Forum.


B. Sapp said...

It is my experience that most patients have stewed over this exact question for sometime before seeking treatment. I usually tell my patients that vein disease is similar to developing poor vision. You may not notice the changes as they occur slowly over time. Wearing glasses or in this case support hose doesn't fix the problem but can provide a temporary solution. The disease is progressive in nature and with the improvements made and in qualified hands like yourself they can get the results they desire and can be ultimately life changing.

Paul L. said...

Nice blog!

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