With all the snow and ice on the ground, it’s the perfect time to plan for swimsuit and shorts season!
While we know that sounds a little daft, we also know that getting your varicose veins treated now means that your legs will be healthy, smooth and ready for your winter vacation to a warm spot – and for spring.
How do varicose veins form?
Varicose veins and spider veins happen when the tiny valves in your superficial veins weaken. These tiny valves have a big job: helping your veins return blood back to your heart. When blood moves up, a healthy valve closes to keep blood moving upward. When the valves don’t close properly, blood flows back down the vein and then pools.
Am I at risk of varicose veins?
If mom or dad had varicose veins, men have a 25% great chance of developing varicose veins and women have a whopping 62% chance. Women who’ve had two children have a 30% risk increase, and three children increases the risk by 57%. If you stand or sit a great deal without changing positions frequently, your risk increases. Smoking is a significant factor as is obesity. And of course, the older we get, the greater the chance of developing varicose and spider veins.
So my veins are ugly. Can’t I just live with that?
While the look of your legs may not bother you, the truth is that varicose veins are dangerous to your overall health. Left untreated, varicose veins will make your legs ache and feel “heavy” and make it painful to stand, walk or sit for any period of time. You’ll feel burning, itching, throbbing and cramping. Pooling blood can cause clots, which puts you at the risk of stroke. Varicose and spider veins can also cause eczema, swelling, induration (a hardening of the soft tissue in your leg), ulcers, bleeding and vein ruptures. Varicose veins are a real threat to your good health and quality of life.
Can I cure them at home?
The progression of varicose veins can be slowed with compression stockings, frequent elevation and by altering your lifestyle (quitting smoking, losing weight), but they cannot be reversed without medical intervention.
How are they treated?
Our medical professionals will screen your legs for deep vein thrombosis, May-Thurner Syndrome and to confirm chronic venous insufficiency.
Treatments we may recommend are:
Endovenous Thermal Ablation – Guided by ultrasound, a catheter will be inserted into the affected vein. Heat will then be applied, through radio frequency or laser, causing the vein to collapse and close. When the vein is closed, the body redirects blood to healthy open veins. In time, the collapsed vein is absorbed into the body’s tissue.
The procedure takes about a half hour and is performed with a local anesthetic. Ablation is 98% effective and about 92% of veins remain closed after 5 years.
Sclerotherapy - Used for small varicose veins, spider and reticular veins, a salt solution is injected into your veins, causing them to scar and close. Your body will redirect blood into healthy veins.
Phlebectomy or Ligation and Stripping – These surgical methods are rarely performed, and only for the most serious, tortured veins. Phlebectomy involves multiple incisions along the vein to remove it. Ligation is an open surgery which removes the great saphenous vein. Treating varicose veins early, before they progress to tortured veins can help you avoid these procedures.
How long does it take for the veins to scar and disappear?
Eight weeks after treatment, you should see dramatic differences in the health and look of your legs. When you get treatment in December or January, your legs will be smooth and healthy by February or March – just in time for spring break!
I’m ready! What is my next step?
Call our office at 815-824-4406. We will set up an appointment as soon as possible and put you on the path to healthier, smoother legs!