Our veins are the part of the circulation system, which carries the blood back to the heart, against gravity. There are a series of one way valves, which together with muscle contraction keeps the blood moving toward the heart. If valves fail, the blood flows backward, increasing pressure in the veins. Over time these veins can become dilated, large and twisty, progressively backing up into the normal veins and damaging them.
Varicose veins are known to cause aching, heaviness, fatigue, ankle swelling, muscle cramping, restlessness, burning and itching. Over time, skin changes may occur, as well as more serious complications such as blood clots, bleeding, and ulceration. However, some individuals may only experience spider veins which can be unattractive and of cosmetic concern.
There are two systems of veins in the leg, superficial and deep. Most are not visible to the eye, but are well seen on ultrasound. Diagnostic ultrasound is used to identify the anatomic position of veins, the direction of blood flow, and its relationship to other veins. The information provided by these studies helps plan appropriate treatment to maximize optimal results.
For larger varicose veins, the purpose of treatment is to reestablish normal blood flow back to the heart. This will relieve symptoms and prevent progression of chronic venous disease.
Spider veins are unattractive and may be treated with either sclerotherapy or surface laser.