Varicose Veins FAQs:

What are Varicose Veins?

Also known as varicosities, varicose veins are bulging, swollen, enlarged, or twisted veins that usually appear under or on the surface of the skin. They are red or a bluish-purple color and found in the lower legs around the ankles and behind the knees. Yet, any veins can become varicose. 

Varicose veins are a common condition that affects 30% of adults at some point in their lives. For some, these veins can result in pain, swelling, itching, skin changes, and more. While people often notice them initially for their cosmetic appearance, many people don’t know that varicose veins are also an indication of an underlying medical condition known as venous insufficiency which contributes to poor circulation in the legs and requires medical treatment to resolve. 

What Causes Varicose Veins?

Often, varicose veins may develop from standing, walking, or other factors that put stress on the legs. We have one-way valves in our veins that help our blood flow toward our hearts. Should these veins become weakened, damaged, or leak in the wrong direction, blood can get backed up in our veins and pool causing the veins to swell, which results in varicose veins.

Varicose veins are also hereditary, so if you have a family history of varicosities, it is more than likely that you will also get them.

Other risk factors include age, obesity, hormonal changes/hormone replacement therapy, history of blood clots in the legs, sun exposure, pregnancy, using birth control, menopause, having defective valves, surgery, prior injury, trauma, or lifestyle/occupation with limited mobility or muscle movement. 

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Symptoms of Varicose Veins

While many patients come to us for cosmetic reasons, they are a sign of an underlying diagnosis of venous insufficiency. If left untreated, health problems can occur as a result of ongoing poor circulation. Treatment can help patients get relief from the following symptoms: 

  • Painful, aching or heavy legs
  • Swollen feet or ankles
  • Itching or burning
  • Cramping legs
  • Fatigue or restless legs
  • Tingling and itching legs
  • Bulging or web-like veins 

Symptoms worsen over time, so it is best to get treatment as soon as possible to avoid longer term health complications. In severe cases, ulcers can form when the veins start to bleed or other serious health issues can develop.

To get temporary relief, moderate exercise is recommended, such as running, cycling, or swimming at least 4 or 5 times a week. Also, it is helpful to stay fit and healthy with a 25 or less mass body index. During the day you can try wearing a compression hose as this can help improve blood flow. Thus, keeping your legs elevated is another way to help improve blood flow. Experts suggest the best way of controlling varicose veins is by staying active. While you can alleviate symptoms, varicose veins do not resolve on their own without treatment. 

What to expect - How does varicose vein treatment work?

Although minimally invasive, vein treatment is still a medical procedure. As such there are certain steps you will need to go through before you can receive it.

  1. First, you will need to have a consultation with a vein doctor, who will be able to tell you what type of treatment you qualify for and which might be the best option.
  2. If recommended during the initial evaluation, your doctor may proceed with ultrasound study to see under the surface and determine the root cause of any symptoms or vein appearance on the skin. 
  3. If treatment is recommended, the next step is insurance verification (which Metro Vein Centers will handle for you) and then you will come in for your treatment. 
  4. Treatments take less than 1 hour and are performed in the office with local numbing cream. Discomfort is minimal and you are able to return to normal activities the same day. Side effects are rare but some temporary tenderness, redness or bruising may occur. 
  5. Treatment plans are personalized and developed by the doctor for each unique patient. Some patients may only need one treatment or a few. 

Varicose Vein Treatment Options

At Metro Vein Centers our vein doctors work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan. We use cutting-edge diagnostic and treatment techniques for vein disease at our specialized vein clinics that involve laser treatments (known as endovenous laser ablation, or EVLA), microfoam treatments such as ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy or Varithena, and radiofrequency treatments (known as radiofrequency ablation, or RFA). 

  1. Laser Treatment (Endovenous Laser Ablation): Laser treatment, also known as Endovenous laser ablation, is one of the treatment options we provide for both varicose and spider veins. It is an invasive technique guided by ultrasound used to treat varicose veins with laser energy.
  2. Radiofrequency Treatment (Radiofrequency Ablation): Radiofrequency ablation is another medical procedure to consider for treating varicose or spider veins. This treatment technique is also known as fulguration. It uses the heat generated from alternating current of medium frequency to ablate a tumor, part of the heart's electrical conduction system, or other dysfunctional tissue.
  3. Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy Injections: Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure used for young adults and children who suffer from lymphatic or vascular malformations. The treatment involves injecting medicine into the vessels to help shrink them and works for blood vessel and the lymphatic system malformations.
  4. Varithena (Microfoam Injections): Varithena is an injectable foam agent that helps reduce enlarged vein dilations by increasing blood clot formations and scar tissue within specific types of veins. It is also used as a treatment for small uncomplicated varicose and spider veins in the legs. Yet, it will not work for varicose veins larger than 3 millimeters in diameter.
  5. Microphlebectomy: Also known as ambulatory phlebectomy, Microphlebectomy is the removal of varicose veins in the leg without surgery through small nicks in the skin. Microphlebectomy is particularly effective treatment for varicose veins that are just under the surface skin. Microphlebectomy is often done to complement laser and radiofrequency treatments which are more often used to treat deep veins. 

Your Next Steps

The first step is to speak with a vein specialist who can evaluate your legs and recommend the appropriate treatment options for your unique needs. 

Metro Vein Centers is a national leader in the treatment of varicose and spider veins with vein treatment clinics in New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and Texas.  

Call us today. We’re excited to help you take the first step towards healthy legs.