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Varicose Veins and Venous Reflux

The Condition

The veins found in our legs are subject to the downward force produced by gravity. Vein disease worsens with age and is exacerbated by periods of prolonged standing in a single location. The veins become damaged and enlarged secondary to the increased pressure produced by blood pooling. This can lead to feelings of fatigue, heaviness and burning. Obesity, pregnancy and family history increase the risk for developing these conditions.

The Treatment

A thorough evaluation of your lower extremities should be carried out by your physician. Proper diagnosis includes performing a venous reflux study, which is carried out using an ultrasound machine. The backflow of the blood within the veins can be measured to determine the degree of reflux present. If the disease is minor, conservative care can be initiated. Surgical care is often reserved for moderate to severe cases.

Frequently Asked Questions

For some patients, varicose veins are merely a cosmetic concern that should be monitored. In more severe cases, this condition can lead to pain and limitation of activity. Regardless of severity, the veins should be evaluated to make sure an accurate diagnosis is made.
No. The test is simple and quick. It is performed using an ultrasound machine to visualize the leg veins. The test is not invasive and does not require the use of anesthesia.
Wounds, blood clots and infections are common complications.
Exercise, weight loss, avoiding prolonged standing or sitting, and elevating your limbs when possible.
Yes. Conservative care can be beneficial in treating vein disease. The benefit of this form of treatment is dependent upon the severity of the condition.
Several methods of surgical treatment are available. Sclerotherapy, laser surgery, catheter-assisted procedures, vein stripping, phlebectomy and endoscopic vein procedures have all been found to be successful. These procedures, when necessary, are typically performed by a vein specialist.