Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are twisted, bulging veins that are filled with an abnormal amount of blood. In many cases, varicose veins are unsightly but harmless. For some people, however, varicose veins can cause pain and may be an indication of a serious circulation problem.

Cause

Healthy veins have valves that keep blood flowing in the proper direction, towards the heart. In varicose veins, however, the valves do not function properly, allowing blood to flow backward and collect in the vein. This abnormal collection of blood causes the veins to enlarge and bulge.

Improper valve function is often hereditary, but certain factors can increase your risk of developing varicose veins, including pregnancy, standing for long periods of time, hormonal changes, or blood clots.

Symptoms

Varicose veins may be associated with aching or pain in the legs, swelling of the ankles, and a discoloration of the skin at the ankles.

Treatment

Some lifestyle changes, such as avoiding excessive standing and wearing compression stockings, can sometimes help relieve symptoms associated with varicose veins. 
Surgery may be used for patients who experience a lot of pain or who wish to improve the appearance of their legs.

• Sclerotherapy is a procedure in which a chemical solution is injected into the vein. The solution will harden, blocking the vein and redirecting blood to healthier veins.

• Saphenectomy, or vein stripping, is a surgical procedure in which the vein is removed. It is usually performed under general anesthesia and takes approximately one hour. Your surgeon will make two small incisions in your leg and then remove the vein with a wire or a hook.