Varicose veins are twisted, swollen veins that are visible below the skin’s surface. Although varicose veins are the most common in the legs, they can also be found in other parts of the body.
In most cases, varicose veins are a cosmetic problem. However, there are some cases where varicose veins need to be treated. Sometimes they can cause pain, blood clots, or skin problems.
There is no way to prevent the formation of varicose veins. Various measures can be taken to reduce the severity or the risk of new varicose veins. These steps include: exercising, controlling weight, wearing supportive shoes, avoiding standing or sitting for long, and finally taking a break! Raising the legs can promote blood circulation.
Once a person opts for medical treatment, there are many options. Some are more invasive than others, but all seem to lead to the same result: discoloration or elimination of varicose veins. It is important to note that the treatments do not prevent the formation of new varicose veins and it is rare, but possible that the veins reappear after the treatment.
The procedure, known as sclerotherapy, uses a liquid chemical to close the vein by injection. The process should be repeated every 4-6 weeks. After the treatments, the legs are wrapped in elastic bandages to reduce swelling and promote healing.
Another procedure, endovenous ablation therapy, involves making a small incision when a small tube is inserted into the vein. This is done under local anesthesia. A device at the top of the inserted tube heats up in the vein and closes it. Rapid recovery is expected with this treatment and the patient wears a home compression sock. An outpatient phlebectomy is pretty much the same process, but tiny veins are removed and not closed.
Other options are available and are usually determined by the person and their caregiver. In most cases, varicose veins can be treated with lifestyle changes. When medical intervention is desired or necessary, it is generally very effective and leads to results with which almost all patients are satisfied.