Most often found in the legs, varicose veins are twisted, swollen veins that can be seen under the skin. They affect approximately 24% of adults in the U.S. and are twice as likely to develop in women than in men.
“While your risk of varicose veins increases as you get older, they can develop at any age,” says Steven Levin, MD, Vascular Surgeon at Prevea Health. “Common risk factors include pregnancy, obesity, family history, prolonged standing or sitting, and prior blood clots.”
Your provider can diagnose varicose veins through a physical examination and ultrasound, which will help determine if you have any damaged valves affecting your blood flow.
If symptoms are mild, these enlarged veins can sometimes be managed with at-home treatments, such as compression therapy and leg elevation. However, if symptoms are severe or if initial, more conservative treatments fail, ask your physician if one of these three outpatient procedures might be right for you:
- Microphlebectomy—a procedure during which parts of the vein are surgically removed
- Radiofrequency ablation—a procedure using a catheter to deliver focused heat into the vein to seal it off
- Sclerotherapy—a procedure which involves injecting a chemical directly into the vein, causing it to seal shut
“Varicose veins are a very common problem, and they are also easy to treat,” says Dr. Levin. “Most of the procedures available take an hour or less to complete and allow individuals to return to their routine daily activities within a couple of days.”
Have varicose veins? Visit Prevea Heart & Vascular Care at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital or call 715.717.6600.
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