Blood in healthy veins travels in a single direction, which is back towards the heart. When there is a weakness in the flow of blood caused by the vein valves, the blood leaks and falls back in the opposite direction creating a bulging varicose vein.
The vein responsible for varicose veins is the Great Saphenous Vein, located deep the inside the thigh.
At Miami Vein Center, we offer multiple treatment options for varicose veins.
Failure of the Saphenous Vein causes a bulging varicose vein.
Varicose Vein Guide Table of Contents
WHERE DO VARICOSE VEINS OCCUR?
In the legs blood travels backward from the veins in the thigh and pools inside veins in the calf. This backwards blood flow causes veins to stretch, swell, and twist. Varicose veins may progress and cause threatening blood clots or large ulcers on the legs and ankles if left untreated.
- Legs (primarily lower)
Varicose Vein Illustration
Varicose Vein Video
SYMPTOMS OF VARICOSE VEINS
Varicose veins are characterized by veins that appear twisted and bulging underneath the skin surface.
While most people who experience varicose may be asymptomatic, this vascular condition can cause the following symptoms:
- Varicose Veins
- Painful legs
- Tired or fatigued legs
- Superficial Phlebitis
- Reddening of skin
- Leg ulceration and sores
- Discoloration of the skin
Varicose Veins can also be found in the abdominal area leading to Pelvic Congestion Syndrome.
Bulging veins are a common symptom of Varicose Veins.
CAUSES OF VARICOSE VEINS
While varicose veins can happen anywhere on the body, they are most common on the legs and thighs.
This condition ultimately occurs when the valves in your veins become damaged or defective. The defective valves cause blood to be routed down the veins instead of up toward the heart every time you stand up.
Pressure builds up in your veins as this continues to occur over time causing varicose veins in your legs.
While nobody knows exactly what causes varicose veins, there are several conditions that place extra pressure on the veins in your legs making it more likely you get varicose veins.
There are a variety of factors that attribute to the cause of varicose veins including:
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Jobs that require excessive standing or sitting
Pregnant women are extremely likely to get varicose veins. A woman’s body goes through several different changes to support the growth of the fetus. One of them is an increase of blood flow throughout the body.
When you combine this with an increase of pressure on the legs, varicose veins become a common symptom of pregnancy. Since the extra blood flow and leg pressure are temporary, the varicose veins should go away a few months after delivering the baby.
Obesity is another common cause of varicose veins. Carrying the extra body weight puts more pressure than normal on the legs.
Excessive standing or sitting
Perfectly healthy individuals that are forced to stand for long periods of time at work are also extremely susceptible to varicose veins. Prolonged standing nearly every day will put an enormous amount of pressure on the veins in your legs, which could possibly cause varicose veins at some point in your life.
If you are forced to regularly strain your body, then you may develop varicose veins. Straining the body causes people to clinch their legs, which puts too much pressure on the veins.
Another common cause of varicose veins is age. Veins become weaker and start to lose their elasticity as you age. As the valves and veins in your legs become weaker, they may cause the reverse blood flow that creates varicose veins.
Saphenous Vein Illustration
Varicose veins are are caused by the leaking of blood in the Great Saphenous Vein, which pools in the lower leg and creates the bulging veins. The illustration is of the posterior accessory saphenous vein, great saphenous vein and the small saphenous vein. The great saphenous vein is the primary cause of varicose veins.
Read out blog post here on causes of varicose veins.
How are Varicose Veins Diagnosed?
The great saphenous vein is only visible with the aid of an ultrasound device, which means that all patients with bulging varicose veins should receive an ultrasound exam before treatment and diagnosis.
TYPES OF VARICOSE VEIN TREATMENT
Depending on the condition, location and severity of varicose veins, Dr. Almeida will recommend the least invasive treatment that provides the best results. Our current treatments include:
1. Conservative Method
The conservative method is done through the use of compression stockings and may involve lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise to slow the advance of vascular disease.
Conventional and Ultrasound-guided Sclerotherapy, where a medical solution is injected into affected veins, causing them to clot and be removed naturally by the body.
3. Endovenous Ablation
Endovenous Ablation uses ultrasound technology, a small catheter is inserted into the vein, where it is permanently sealed off using either laser or radiofrequency energy.
4. Ambulatory Phlebectomy
Ambulatory Phlebectomy is used to remove large varicose veins near the skin surface, small incisions are made to remove affected veins with small surgical tools.
VARICOSE VEIN TREATMENT RESULTS
Actual Dr. Almeida patient before and after photos.
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES WHEN VARICOSE VEINS ARE LEFT UNTREATED?
Symptoms that may occur when Varicose Veins are left untreated, develop when the bulging varicose veins do not allow the blood to circulate becoming stagnant leading to the development of:
- Leg ulcers and superficial blood clots, where a small percentage of these blood clots can migrate thru the vein to the deep venous system.
- Superficial vein blood clots are less dangerous than deep vein clots, but they do cause inflammation and pain for 4-6 weeks. In some cases, blood thinners are required for treatment.
WHICH VARICOSE VEIN TREATMENT IS RIGHT FOR ME?
During your consultation, Dr. Almeida will assess your condition and the severity of your varicose veins as well as your overall health and medical history to determine which course of treatment is right for you.
VARICOSE VEIN SURGEON
Depending on the condition, location and severity of varicose veins, Dr. Almeida will recommend the least invasive treatment that provides the best results.
Dr. Jose Almeida, MD, FACS, RPVI, RVT is a veteran academic vascular surgeon who practices Endovascular Venous Surgery in the comfort and convenience of a private practice in Miami, FL.
VOLUNTARY PROFESSOR OF SURGERY
Dr. Jose Almeida serves as Voluntary Professor of Surgery at the University of Miami School of Medicine, sits on the American Venous Forum Board of Directors, and is Chairman of the Society for Vascular Surgery Patient Safety Organization Venous Quality Committee.