Venous Treatments

The cardiovascular specialists at Bay Area Heart Center offer treatment options for varicose and spider veins to minimize discomfort and improve appearance.

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are veins that are unnaturally and permanently distended. They are large, “rope-like” veins often 1/4 inch or larger in diameter. Vein walls or vein valves near the skin can become damaged from natural stretching or weakening because of the pressure of the blood flowing through the veins. Varicose veins often appear through the skin on a person's legs as blue, bulging, and twisted veins; in some cases the veins may be raised or stand out on the surface of the skin.

What causes varicose veins?

Varicose veins occur when veins are not properly returning blood from the lower leg to the heart. All veins have valves that open to allow the flow of blood to the heart and close to prevent backflow (otherwise known as "reflux") of blood to the foot. When valves fail to function properly, blood leaks through and flows down the leg in the wrong direction. The blood overfills and distends the superficial veins under the skin, resulting in the bulging seen in varicose veins.

Initially, most patients will feel slight pain and restlessness in the diseased leg. However, untreated varicose veins generally grow in size and worsen over time. When varicose veins become severe, it is referred to as chronic venous insufficiency. Symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency include aching pain, easy leg fatigue, and leg heaviness, all of which worsen as the day progresses. Left untreated, chronic venous insufficiency can cause ulcerations which can be very difficult to treat.

Spider Veins

Named for their resemblance to a spider or spider web, spider veins are a mild variation of varicose veins. They are the small, thread-like colored veins that are most often seen on the surface of the skin. Venules (tiny blood vessels) near the skin's surface may become permanently dilated because of the pressure of blood inside leg veins. While many people seek treatment for spider veins for cosmetic reasons, spider veins also can result in substantial discomfort requiring therapy.

Treatments

Venous treatments include microphlebectomy, endovenous ablation, and sclerotherapy. Your cardiologist will first order a venous duplex ultrasound, which sends sound waves through the affected area, creating images to view the flow of blood through the veins in the legs. He or she will use the ultrasound to determine which treatment is most appropriate for your condition.

Microphlebectomy

Microphlebectomy is used to treat painful, unpleasant varicose veins that are located close to the skin's surface. The procedure is ideal for treating veins that are too large to treat with sclerotherapy and too small to safely and successfully treat with laser procedures.

Endovenous Laser Therapy

In endovenous laser therapy (also referred to as thermal or radiofrequency ablation), a thin laser fiber is inserted into the diseased vein, generally through a small puncture in the leg above where the visual symptoms appear. The physician then delivers laser energy through the fiber which heats the vein walls and causes the vein to close as the fiber is gradually removed. No longer able to carry blood, the vein breaks up and is reabsorbed by the body.

Used for varicose veins and venous ulcers, endovenous laser therapy can be performed in our office in less than one hour, and you are encouraged to walk immediately following the procedure. Most people report little to no pain associated with endovenous laser therapy.

Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy is a treatment for the removal of spider veins and smaller varicose veins. A small volume of a sclerosing liquid is injected into the diseased vein, which causes it to seal shut, eliminating the vein completely. Sclerotherapy is a quick in-office procedure and does not require any anesthesia.

Blood circulation is carried out through healthy veins located deeper within the body, so the outward appearance and sometimes pain associated with the problematic veins is significantly reduced.

For superior venous treatments from board-certified physicians, request an appointment online or call us at (727) 544-1441 today.