We’ve all seen them, and the Office on Women’s Health in the Department of Health and Human Services estimates that varicose veins affect 50 percent of all women. Appearing as twisted, bulging dark purple or blue veins primarily on legs or ankles, varicose veins occur when blood valves do not work properly and blood pools in the network of veins instead of flowing from one valve to the next. Increasing pressure and congestion in the vein causes the bulging and twisting. In addition to being genetically predisposed to developing varicose veins, conditions that put excessive pressure on the legs can also lead to varicose veins. Among these conditions are pregnancy, aging, obesity and standing for long periods.
According to Dr. Christopher Griggs, a vascular surgeon with Catawba Valley Vascular Surgery, “Varicose veins aren’t only a cosmetic concern. Patients may report having swelling, pain, tenderness and a heavy or achy feeling in the legs. Varicose veins worsen over time, so the sooner they’re diagnosed, the easier they are to treat. Without treatment, varicose veins may lead to discoloration, ulcers and sclerosis (hardening of the veins).”
The providers at Catawba Valley Vascular surgery offer free consultations for comprehensive diagnosis resulting in individualized treatments for varicose veins without the requirement of a physician’s referral. “Physical exams for the treatment of varicose veins often involve the use of ultrasound to provide a visual map of the vein’s structure and function,” says Dr. Griggs. “The ultrasound report offers information about blood flow while allowing us to rule out any deeper issues as well.”
Depending on the type of venous problem and the patient’s overall health, several minimally invasive procedures can provide significant and lasting relief for varicose veins. What’s more, two of the more commonly performed procedures – Venefit, previously known as VNUS® Closure® and sclerotherapy are often covered by insurance.
Venefit – The Venefit procedure offers patients an efficient, non-surgical alternative for treating varicose veins to improve the skin’s appearance and to reduce health risks related to large varicose veins. The Venefit Procedure utilizes radiofrequency (RF) energy to heat and contract the collagen found inside the vein walls, causing the vein to collapse and seal shut, thereby rerouting blood flow to healthier veins with properly functioning valves.
Sclerotherapy – Often ultrasound guided sclerotherapy with foam is performed in addition to the Venefit procedure to improve results. This non-surgical, minimally-invasive technique, is designed to close varicose veins causing the problem vein to shrink or possibly disappear. During the procedure, medication is injected into the vein using ultrasound technology to locate the desired vein and injection site. By injecting this medication into the vein, it will shrink down in size. Often patients will notice a relief in physical symptoms after treatment and the vein will no longer be noticeable under the skin.
Both Venefit and sclerotherapy offer safer and more comfortable alternatives to traditional surgical stripping to treat varicose veins. This both improves appearance of the veins and reduces the health risks associated with blood pooling. Treatment is faster and much less invasive than surgery and offers little to no downtime or discomfort
Varicose veins can cause serious discomfort. If you experience leg pain that causes aching, cramping or burning; skin changes or discoloration; or leg numbness or tingling, it’s time to get screened. Please contact Catawba Valley Vascular Surgery today to schedule a free screening and learn about your treatment options. The practice, located at 1771 Tate Blvd SE, Suite 204, Hickory 28602, is now scheduling patients. Please call 828.322.9105 to make an appointment.