What Causes Varicose Veins?
Many factors can contribute to the development of varicose veins. Heredity plays a substantial role, and those with affected family members have a higher risk. Due to hormonal fluctuations, women develop varicose veins much more often than men, and the extra blood flow during pregnancy can also contribute. Age increases the risk of developing varicose veins as the valves in your leg veins weaken over time, and obesity can present challenges for maintaining a healthy venous system, as well.
Can Varicose Veins Be Dangerous?
Varicose veins themselves can cause symptoms, but they are not dangerous. However, they may be symptomatic of something more dangerous, such as venous insufficiency within the deeper veins of your legs. Symptoms of varicose veins can include:
- Bulging, twisted veins
- Swelling, particularly around the ankles
- Leg Heaviness
Any of these symptoms should cause you to consider visiting a vein specialist like Dr. Craig Schwartz. Using Venous Duplex Ultrasound, Dr. Schwartz evaluates the health of your venous system and determines the best method for treating your vein issues.
If venous insufficiency goes untreated, you may develop more concerning symptoms, including pain, sores, ulcers that will not heal, and a feeling of heat. Clusters of spider veins around the ankles may also suggest a concerning venous issue.
Varicose Veins vs. Spider Veins
Many people refer to varicose veins and spider veins interchangeably. Spider veins have a much smaller diameter than varicose veins and often look like red, purple, or blue webs spreading under the skin. They form in some of the body’s smallest blood vessels and often appear on the legs or face.
Spider veins are almost always a cosmetic problem, but Dr. Schwartz can treat them if they bother you. Once veins have become stretched, they will not return to normal, so your spider veins will only go away with treatment. Varicose veins should be evaluated and treated even if they are not causing symptoms.
How are Varicose Veins Treated?
Dr. Schwartz will choose the best method of treatment for your venous issues. He will often use more than one treatment to achieve the desired results.
Endovenous Laser Ablation
EVLA uses laser energy to seal or “close” the diseased Great Saphenous Vein, treating the root cause of your varicose veins. The 1470nm laser by TVS works using a small needle to insert a thin fiber into the damaged vein. The laser generates thermal energy that seals the vein, and blood will reroute to healthy ones.
Dr. Schwartz may use this treatment to address varicose veins under the skin and out of sight. Ultrasound guidance lets him insert a small needle into the problem vein. The injected solution irritates the walls of the vein, “closing” it and stopping blood flow. The body absorbs the unused vein over time.
This treatment can remove superficial bulging varicose veins to improve blood flow and make you happier with the appearance of your legs. Dr. Schwartz uses special tools to “hook” the vein and remove it through tiny incisions. After the removal of diseased veins, blood redirects into healthy ones.