What causes Varicose Veins?
Varicose Veins are caused by venous insufficiency or venous reflux, which occurs when your veins become enlarged, dilated, and overfilled with blood. Often painful, varicose veins typically appear dilated, swollen and raised, and have a bluish-purple or red color. Any vein may become varicose, but the veins in the legs and feet are most commonly affected, due to the fact that standing and walking upright increases the pressure in the veins of your lower body. Leg veins are also located furthest from the heart and gravity makes it harder for the blood to flow upwards towards the heart.
Once a vein has become varicose, it will never return to normal and should be treated by an experienced vascular surgeon who specializes in vein disease. When left untreated, severe varicose veins can ultimately lead to chronic leg pain, fatigue and swelling, eczema-type symptoms, skin thickening and discoloration, bleeding, infections, and even ulcerations (open sores) that won’t heal until the veins are treated.
How are Varicose Veins treated?
After a prescribed period of conservative treatment, during which time the patient wears medical-grade compression hose while frequently elevating the legs, Dr. Craig Schwartz, one of Kansas City’s “original” vein doctors, performs an in-office endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) on the diseased vein. During treatment, laser energy, via a tiny laser fiber, is used to heat the affected vein, which then seals or “closes” it. The blood is then re-routed through healthier veins, thus restoring normal blood circulation and eliminating the source of the painful, bulging leg veins. Dr. Schwartz may also use the micro-incisional resection, or phlebectomy procedure, to remove the visible superficial bulging veins, or ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy to treat any diseased tributary branches that are just below the skin’s surface and not visible to the naked eye.