Varicose veins can happen to anyone, especially after the age of 30. Along with producing possible embarrassment, varicose veins can also cause pain, discomfort, or a feeling of ‘heaviness’ when someone stands. The condition is also linked with a ‘restless’ feeling in the legs that make it difficult to fall asleep.
These bulging veins that appear just below the skin are a symptom of what’s called venous reflux disease, which affects some 25-30 percent of the population. Varicose veins should not be considered a minor annoyance or cosmetic concern, because if left untreated, they can worsen into more serious health problems.
There are some risk factors that increase someone’s likelihood of developing varicose veins, or a milder form known as spider veins. Both types have been treated successfully for many years at Surgical Associates | Elevé, and the minimally invasive techniques used today can significantly reduce a patient’s recovery time.
What causes varicose veins?
Dark blue or purple in color, varicose veins can appear anywhere on your body but are most common in your legs. They develop when one-way valves that help pump blood toward the heart become weak or damaged, allowing blood to flow backward or collect in the vein. This causes the veins to dilate and swell, giving a raised appearance under the skin.
Warning signs and symptoms
The symptoms of varicose veins can be varied but most commonly include visible swelling that makes the veins resemble bulging, twisted ropes.
Over time, chronic high pressure in the veins can exacerbate the condition beyond cosmetic appearance, leading to aching, burning, itching, swelling, sores, and eczema. Many symptoms often temporarily worsen after a patient stands for long periods of time.
Who’s at risk?
Some of the most common risk factors associated with varicose veins are out of an individual’s control. Heredity is factor number one, as about half of people with varicose veins have a family history of the disease. If both parents experienced varicose veins, then an individual’s chances of developing the disease rise to 90 percent.
While varicose veins are an inherited genetic disorder, many factors can influence whether the gene is activated. These include venous pressure and hormonal effects during pregnancy, obesity, and leg injury. Jobs that require a person to stand for prolonged periods (bartending, nursing, hairstyling, etc.) can also contribute to the weakening of venous valves.
Diagnosis and treatment
Varicose veins are diagnosed by physical examination and a review of a patient’s personal and family health history. Ultrasound testing may be recommended to better understand the source of the varicose veins and to check for blood clots and other issues.
Early diagnosis is important in the treatment of varicose veins. The benefit is twofold: Allowing for additional steps to stop new varicose veins from forming and to prevent existing symptoms from getting worse.
Many patients can ease the pain of varicose veins through self-care measures like elevating the legs, wearing compression stockings, exercising, and losing weight. If symptoms are severe or you’re concerned with how they look, your doctor may recommend a medical procedure to remove or close the affected veins.
Non-Surgical Varicose Vein Treatment at Surgical Associates
Using radiofrequency ablation (RFA), the specialists at Surgical Associates can close varicose veins without the need for invasive surgery.
During the procedure, a small incision is made in the varicose vein, and a probe is inserted through a thin tube (catheter). Radiofrequency energy is emitted from the probe and heats up the vein. After the catheter is removed, the vein collapses and blood naturally reroutes to healthy veins. The sealed vein shrinks in size, eventually disappearing permanently.
The minimally invasive procedure results in little to no scarring and is generally performed using local anesthesia in the comfort of Surgical Associates’ accredited vascular lab.
Studies have reported that patients treated with RFA experience less pain, fewer complications, and a faster recovery than those treated with traditional “vein stripping techniques.”
If you’re ready to say goodbye forever to your unsightly and possibly painful varicose veins, schedule a consultation with Surgical Associates today to learn RFA is right for you: 715-847-2022
About Surgical Associates | Elevé:
Surgical Associates is a multispecialty, independent surgical practice. General and acute care surgery, vascular surgery, breast surgery, and bariatric surgery are among the services offered at Surgical Associates. In 2019, the company expanded their practice by adding a Plastic Surgery and MedSpa division called Elevé. The organization now has two main locations in Wausau, 2400 Pine Ridge Blvd. and 2606 Stewart Ave., while also providing outreach clinic and surgical services to several Northcentral Wisconsin communities, including Adams, Antigo, Hurley, Medford, Merrill, Rhinelander, Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids and Woodruff as well as Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Surgical Associates | Elevé is a proud member of Aspirus Network Inc. For more information, visit sawisconsin.com or eleveplasticsurgery.com.