Varicose vein refers to the condition where the flow of blood is not proper or when the blood flows in the opposite direction. Visible blue or purple colored veins are the main identification of varicose veins. These veins generally occur in the legs and feet causing itchy skin, swollen legs and pain in the areas.
The following conditions can help in identifying varicose veins:
• Blue-colored veins
• Discoloration surrounding the veins
• Extreme pain in the legs, especially after any strenuous activity
• Swollen ankles
• The occurrence of red, dry and itchy skin
What Causes Varicose Veins?
The veins have one-way valves, which only allow the flow of blood to the heart. When these valves do not work correctly or when the veins become weaker, it causes the veins to expand and allows the blood to flow back to the legs instead of going up to the heart. This results in the pooling of blood in the veins present in the legs and feet causing more pressure in the veins thereby making the veins wide, twisted and bulged.
Due to the force of gravity, the blood usually flows back to the veins in the legs. This is why the concerned patients observe varicose veins in legs and feet.
Common Reasons for Varicose Veins
The weakening of the veins occurs when you engage in any activity or have any condition that puts too much pressure on your legs. People having obesity are susceptible to induce high pressure on their legs due to their body weight. Similarly, pregnant women are also more prone to get the condition of varicose veins.
People who leave a dormant lifestyle without any physical activities can make their muscles weaker, which could lead to varicose veins. Age and genetics also play a significant role in the condition of varicose veins.
What is the Treatment for Varicose Veins?
If you have any symptoms of varicose veins, the surgeon will conduct a physical examination of the area. He will most likely recommend an ultrasound test to check the functioning of the valves. If the surgeon diagnoses the condition as varicose veins, he will discuss the next stage of treatment.
Generally, the first level of treatment involves the use of tight fit compression stockings. These will squeeze the legs to help the blood flow back to the heart. The tightness of the compression varies on the recommendation of the surgeon. He will probably ask you to wear these compression stockings on all days.
After a few weeks, the expert will check the condition of varicose veins. If the treatment seems to affect, then the use of compression stockings is suitable to treat varicose veins itself. If there is no improvement in the condition, the surgeon will suggest you other advanced treatment options as follows.
This treatment does not require anesthesia. Instead, the surgeon injects a chemical into your veins more than once in the same location to close them. A few weeks after these injections, you can observe that the color has started fading away.
The surgeon will administer local anesthesia for laser treatment. Next, he will delivery short bursts of laser energy directly to the veins to burn it up and seal it shut. In order to close all occurrences of varicose veins, you would require undergoing multiple laser sessions.
This surgery involves the use of general anesthetic on the patient. The surgeon uses a thin camera to see the location of the veins. Once the surgeon identifies the varicose veins, he removes them through endoscopic surgery.
The surgeon will recommend opting for this surgery in case of acute varicose veins, or if the other options fail.
The surgeon makes small incisions on the skin near the location of the veins after administering local anesthesia. He uses a small endoscopic light to locate the veins. Next, he cuts these veins and removes them through incisions. This procedure could cause some bleeding and pain.
Litigation and Vein Stripping
Performed under the influence of local or general anesthesia, this procedure may result in pain and bleeding. It requires the surgeon to make an incision at the top of the legs where he cuts varicose veins ties them in a knot. The surgeon creates another incision, generally near the feet or knee, to pull out the knotted veins out.
In this procedure, the surgeon attaches a catheter to the vein at the top of the legs. He sends short bursts of radiofrequency waves to the veins with the help of the catheter to collapse it and to shut the veins. This is best to treat large varicose veins.
How Can One Recover from Varicose Veins Treatment?
• Put on compression stockings: Irrespective of the type of varicose veins treatment, the surgeon will advise you to wear the compression stockings for at least 10 to 14 days after the completion of the varicose veins treatment. The compression stockings will prevent further pooling of blood in the legs and discourage the formation of varicose veins.
• Take rest: The surgeon will advise you to take rest for a few days based on the treatment. For procedures like vein stripping and veins surgery, you may have to take some extra rest to let the incisions heal.
• Avoid swimming: You shouldn’t go swimming for at least two to four weeks after the treatment.
• Use prescribed Painkillers: For some treatments like laser therapy and vein stripping, you may experience pain in the areas. The surgeon may provide some painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs for faster healing.
After the removal of varicose veins, it is essential to exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight to prevent the formation of varicose veins again. In case of undue delay, it may lead you to face severe health conditions. Prompt attention is hence necessary to get away with this problem. This in turn necessitates the need to look out for the best surgeon around you for appropriate treatment.
The information is being provided by plasticsurgery.in and have no intention to replace the medical advice of your doctor. Please consult your doctor directly for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed by Dr. Priti Shukla, Plastic Surgeon on: 12-JUN-2020