Varicose veins are one of the most common vein diseases of the legs. In fact, up to 35 percent of adults in the United States have varicose veins, according to the Society for Vascular Surgery. These twisted, bulging veins are unattractive and can cause discomfort; there is even a slight risk that these diseased veins can cause other health problems. Fortunately, vein treatment can resolve varicose veins and help restore vein health.
Along with arteries, veins are part of the circulatory system. Arteries deliver oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body and veins transport the blood back up to the heart. Gravity helps arteries move blood downwards towards the feet, but gravity makes it harder for veins to move blood back upwards. Tiny valves inside veins open and close with every heartbeat, and trap blood within small segments of the blood vessel so that it does not flow back down the legs.
These valves can fail, especially as a person gets older. Valve failure allows blood to flow backward, or reflux, and accumulate in the veins in the lower legs. The pressure of the excess blood causes the veins to bloat and twist. Affected veins near the surface of the skin appear as blue or red varicose veins.
Varicose veins are a cosmetic problem but they can also cause symptoms. Some people with varicose veins experience discomfort or heaviness of their legs. Varicose veins can even cause painful sores on the lower legs and ankles.
Vein Treatment for Varicose Veins
Vein doctors can now perform several vein treatment procedures for varicose veins. Many of these varicose vein treatment options work by irritating the inner lining of the affected blood vessel; this irritation causes the vein to swell closed and seal shut. The circulatory system reroutes the blood through other veins. In time, the treated vein breaks apart. The varicose vein fades as nearby tissue absorbs the remnants of the treated blood vessel.
Each type of vein treatment closes the vein in a slightly different way. Sclerotherapy uses a chemical irritant, for example, while laser vein treatment uses light energy.
ClosureFast uses radiofrequency waves to irritate the diseased vein. In ClosureFast, the vein doctor inserts a thin flexible tube, known as a catheter, into the leg vein and then directs radiofrequency waves down the catheter.
VenaSeal works in a slightly different way. In VenaSeal, the vein doctor injects a medical adhesive into the affected vein. The adhesive seals the vein shut. As with other types of vein treatments, the body reroutes blood and absorbs the remnants.
Vein doctors can perform these procedures in outpatient clinics. Patients can go home shortly after the procedure, and resume normal activities within a couple of days.
While varicose veins are unsightly, vein treatment effectively and safely reduces the appearance of the bloated, twisted varicose veins. For more information about varicose veins and varicose vein treatments, consult with a vein doctor.