Varicose and Spider Veins - Treatment options at National Center for Veins
Varicose veins are a huge problem in the United States. They're not just cosmetic, but they can also cause numerous issues with your legs, ankles, feet. They can cause swelling. They can cause discoloration. They can cause restless leg syndrome, and they can even cause ulcerations, which are wound openings of your legs, ankles, feet. They can be very difficult to treat at this point, so they are much more easily treated if you treat them early. Treatment of varicose veins consists of initially doing an ultrasound. It's not just your regular ultrasound looking for deep vein clots which is your routine ultrasound of your legs. It's a complete vein exam done by a registered vascular technician who is a specialist in ultrasound of the veins. It usually takes around 45 minutes. They do a complete exam from waist to ankle of all the veins in your legs to assess what the veins are doing. Is the blood flow heading in the correct direction? Is it going back to your heart? Is it staying in your legs? Is it something we call "refluxing" which is basically the blood is traveling through the deep system, but then spilling back over into the superficial system and causing this back-flow and swelling in your legs? All the blood is staying in your legs. That's causing the swelling, and this discoloration in your ankles is actually caused by the blood just stagnating in your legs. The hemosiderin, the color component of the red blood cells is staying in your ankles, and then over time will stain your ankles a dark color. Surgery itself takes around 15 to 30 minutes. Now, I hesitate to even call it a surgery and more of a procedure because it's basically just getting an IV in. That's the only part you're going to really feel. Recovery time in and of itself is very rapid. Patients have the procedure, they basically walk right out of the office, and we actually then encourage them to ... you walk, emulate because patients who don't can get blood clots, so we actually want them to get back to their normal activity as quickly as possible. Most of the patients are in the grocery store doing their normal activity that same evening right after the procedure is done. The procedure is very gratifying, and they love it.