Varicose veins are the name for the bulging, twisted and often discolored veins that protrude from the skin’s surface. While many individuals seek treatment to remove their varicose veins due to their unattractive appearance, they can also be accompanied by uncomfortable symptoms due to blood flow within the legs that makes treatment a necessity. Whether your varicose veins have left you feeling self-conscious about the way your legs look or you regularly experience swelling, aching or pain in your leg, Vein Specialists of Tampa offers a multitude of minimally-invasive treatment options to eliminate unsightly varicose veins and ease your unpleasant symptoms long term.
What is Venous Disease?
While the arteries in your body are designed to supply oxygenated blood to all of your vital organs, your vast network of veins work to pump blood back to the heart after it has been deoxygenated. In order to keep blood flowing upwards against the constant force of gravity, veins utilize a system of one-way valves that open and close to prevent the blood from back flowing within the vein. Venous disease, also known as Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI), occurs when these one-way valves in the veins begin to fail.
Varicose veins are the result of CVI, where instead of blood traveling back towards the heart, it begins to pool in the lower legs or feet, leading to swelling of the affected vein. Over time, these veins become noticeably enlarged and visible through the skin, and may even be accompanied by uncomfortable or painful symptoms. While varicose veins can occur anywhere in your body, they are most likely to occur in the legs or feet, where blood vessels have to work the hardest to pump blood upwards.
The onset of venous disease can start as a harmless condition, but allowing it to continue untreated while ignoring the development of symptoms can allow the disease to create severe and often painful side effects that may impact your quality of life. Whether you have recently begun to notice early signs of varicose veins or have had them for some time, it is essential to have your veins evaluated by a vein surgical specialist to determine the cause. Varicose veins can often be symptomless despite their enlarged appearance and may be indicative of a more serious health concern.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
The reasons for insufficient veins are numerous, but certain factors can put you at higher risk for developing varicose veins. During your in-person consultation at Vein Specialists of Tampa, board-certified cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon Dr. Dworkin will carefully examine your health history and affected veins to determine the cause and best course of treatment for you. Factors that contribute to the development of varicose veins include:
- Age – The natural aging process can eventually affect blood circulation and cause blood to flow backward or pool instead of traveling back to the heart. Over time, the one-way valves in your veins that regulate blood flow can become worn, causing them to weaken.
- Genetics – A family history of venous disease puts you at a higher risk of developing it yourself.
- Obesity – Additional weight can put more pressure on the veins in your legs, making it more challenging for blood to be pushed back up to the heart.
- Gender – Women are at higher risk for developing varicose veins due to hormonal changes throughout their life. Pregnancy, perimenopause and menopause involve female hormones that can relax and weaken the vein walls, affecting healthy blood circulation.
- Occupation – Work that involves prolonged periods of sitting or standing can put added pressure on the veins, causing blood pooling to become significantly worse.
At Vein Specialists of Tampa, we use ultrasound imaging to complement all in-person examinations and treatments of venous disease to identify the anatomy of insufficient veins and determine the best approach for your unique condition.
Treatment Options for Varicose Veins
In the past, treatment options for venous disease were limited to conservative measures such as wearing compression stockings or losing weight, or in more severe cases, having to undergo major surgery known as “vein stripping” that involved general anesthesia and considerable downtime. Thanks to advances in both medicine and technology, today’s therapies for insufficient veins are minimally-invasive, use only local anesthesia and can be performed in-office on an outpatient basis. These therapies have resulted in higher treatment success rates and longer-lasting results than the invasive surgical procedures previously used.
Our treatment options for varicose veins at Vein Specialists of Tampa include:
Endovenous ablation is a nonsurgical 60-minute procedure that eliminates varicose veins using thermal laser energy and requires minimal downtime. Though relatively painless, local anesthesia is administered around your vein to ensure you experience no discomfort during your treatment. Using ultrasound guidance for precision, a small catheter is inserted through a tiny needle into the affected vein. A thin laser fiber is then passed through the catheter into the vein and emits thermal energy to the surrounding walls of the vein.
When exposed to the thermal energy of the laser, the inner lining of the afflicted vein collapses and seals off. After the vein has sealed off, the body naturally redirects blood flow to healthier veins within the legs, and the body gradually absorbs the sealed off vein.
Sclerotherapy is an injectable vein procedure that is commonly used for eliminating spider veins but may also be utilized for the elimination of varicose veins. During a sclerotherapy treatment, a chemical agent known as sclerosant is injected into the affected vein. The sclerosant works to irritate and inflame the vein, prompting it to seal off and remove itself from circulation.
After sealing off, the body safely and naturally absorbs the treated vein. With limited side effects and downtime for this in-office procedure, sclerotherapy is often the procedure of choice for visible surface veins or smaller insufficient veins.
Microphlebectomy refers to a minor surgical procedure in which Dr. Dworkin surgically removes the affected varicose vein. Before this in-office procedure, local anesthesia will be administered to keep you comfortable. During microphlebectomy, small freckle sized holes are made over the insufficient vein through which the vein will be removed. The surgery will require you to wear compression stockings for about two weeks for optimal results. Microphlebectomy has a high rate of efficacy due to the complete removal of the varicose vein.
If unsightly or uncomfortable varicose veins have taken a toll on your quality of life, now is the time to schedule a consultation at Vein Specialists of Tampa to have your veins examined. Board-certified Dr. Gary Dworkin prides himself on offering the latest advancements in vein therapies to help his patients restore their appearance and health. Call our office today at 813-374-9002 to schedule an appointment and discover your varicose vein treatment options.