Veins are responsible for carrying blood back to the heart. Muscle contractions pump blood through healthy veins, and one-way vein valves ensure that the blood flows in the proper direction. If vein valves malfunction, individuals can develop spider veins or varicose veins. Varicose veins can be unsightly and may pose significant health threats, but with proper treatment, varicose veins can be eliminated and healthy blood flow restored.
Causes of Varicose Veins
If a vein valve malfunctions, it can allow the blood to flow in the wrong direction instead of returning to the heart. This allows blood to stand or pool and lets fluid leak out, eventually leading to the formation of a varicose vein. Common factors that can initiate valve malfunction and varicose veins include:
- Family history of vein problems
- Other hormonal changes (such as menopause)
- Frequent standing or sitting in place for extended periods of time
Symptoms of Varicose VeinsWhen a vein valve malfunctions, the backward blood flow can cause the vein to become varicose. Because veins have thin walls, this inflation of increased pressure causes varicose veins to take on a bulging, rope-like twisted appearance. Varicose veins most often form on the legs, and they may be isolated or appear connected to other varicose veins. Common symptoms of varicose veins include leg swelling, throbbing, fatigue, burning, itching, pain or aching, heaviness, restlessness, skin discoloration, and sometimes skin ulcers. Symptoms can worsen over time and may lead to chronic venous insufficiency, discoloration of the skin, superficial thrombophlebitis, and/or painful venous ulcers.
Treatment for Varicose Veins
Malfunctioning vein valves that cause varicose veins cannot be repaired; therefore, special treatment is necessary to eliminate symptoms and prevent adverse effects on health. At Vein Specialists of Augusta, we use thorough measures (including ultrasound examination) to ensure that we make a proper diagnosis of the cause of your varicose veins and determine the best course of treatment.
Conservative treatment therapies include leg elevation and long-term use of compression stockings. However, because these measures are lifelong requirements, many patients elect to receive one of the following treatments to correct varicose veins. Each of these treatments destroys varicose veins, and the body reroutes the blood flow through nearby healthy veins so that venous circulation can return to normal.
Varicose vein treatment options include:
Endovenous Laser Ablation Treatment (EVLA)
Using the 1470 laser system, we use laser energy to treat varicose veins. After a laser fiber is inserted into the vein, laser energy is transmitted into the vein and the fiber is withdrawn, causing the vein to close.
ClosureFast™ is a treatment that uses radiofrequency energy to close a varicose vein. A thin catheter inserted into the vein through a needle is used to transmit radiofrequency energy. It is then slowly withdrawn, and the vein closes behind it.
VenaSeal™ uses a proprietary medical adhesive to seal the varicose vein, eliminating some of the potential for discomfort and the risk of thermal nerve injury. This adhesive is inserted directly into the vein and seals the walls shut.
Ambulatory phlebectomy is a micro-extraction procedure that removes varicosities through tiny incisions without the need for surgical stitches. A phlebectomy hook is inserted through a micro-incision and hooked around a section of the varicose vein. This section of vein is then removed through the incision.
Sclerotherapy treatment injects a sclerosant (a chemical irritant) into the vein, disabling the vein walls and causing the vein to gradually fade away. Sclerotherapy is especially effective for spider veins and small varicose veins and can also be effective for treating large varicose veins.
EXCEL V+ LASER
The Excel V+ is very effective for eliminating smaller varicose veins on the legs but also for treating facial veins. No needle sticks are required.
Our highly experienced staff can help you determine if treatment can help your specific situation.