Veins are the blood vessels that return blood from the body to the heart. In healthy veins, one-way valves allow blood to move from the legs toward the heart.
Varicose veins, a type of vascular disease, are caused by weakened vein walls and faulty valves. When normal vein walls become weak, they allow blood that should be moving toward the heart to flow backward. One-way valves within the veins fail to function properly and allow blood to pool and pressure to build up. These factors weaken and damage the veins and cause them to become twisted, enlarged and painful varicose veins.
Spider veins are a smaller and less severe type of venous disease. They appear close to the surface of the skin and look like blue, purple or red spider webs or tree branches. In most cases, spider veins are not dangerous, however if complications arise in association with spider veins, treatment may be necessary.
Venous Disease Symptoms
In addition to the visual appearance of colored, bulging veins, many patients experience:
- Pain (aching or cramping feeling)
- Burning or tingling sensations
- Tender areas around the veins
Varicose veins are fairly easy for your doctor to diagnose. The doctor will look at the patterns on your legs, feet, or other affected areas and check for swelling, tender spots and changes in skin color.
Advanced Treatment Options at Doylestown Health
The goal of treating venous diseases is to relieve symptoms and improve the appearance of the affected area.
The first step in the treatment of advanced venous disease involves closing the Greater Saphenous Vein (GSV), a large vein that runs along the inside of the upper thigh. In the past, the vein was removed in a surgical procedure known as vein stripping. Vein stripping procedures are performed in an operating room under general anesthesia, and involve a considerable recovery period for the patient. However, several less invasive procedures have become more accepted alternatives to treat varicose veins.
Many modern treatment options do not require general anesthesia and are performed in an outpatient setting. Options for the treatment of varicose veins include:
Patients seeking treatment for spider veins can often see a cosmetic improvement with surface laser treatment. The type of treatment your doctor will recommend depends on several factors including symptoms, severity and age.
If your symptoms are less severe, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following lifestyle changes:
- Wearing compression or support stockings to help improve circulation and relieve pain or discomfort in the legs
- Losing weight
- Walking regularly
- Reducing salt (if swelling is a problem)
The Vein and Laser Center is staffed by board-certified interventional radiologists who are vascular specialists with specific training in the management of vascular disease. Our team helps to diagnose and treat patients at an early stage to avoid the pain and discomfort that can occur with vein disorders or vascular disease. The center offers advanced treatment to relieve pain and reduce the appearance of bulging veins.
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