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varicose veins

overview

Varicose veins develop when the walls of your veins weaken and stretch. Blood backs up in them, making them bulge and twist. They usually form in your legs and look like swollen purple ropes.

You’re more likely to get varicose veins if you’re a woman, particularly as you get older. Factors like obesity, pregnancy, being on birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, and standing for long periods of time also increase your odds of developing them.

symptoms

Varicose veins can be unsightly and painful. Symptoms include: 

  • Blood clots in the swollen veins
  • Itchiness
  • Leg pain, aching and cramping
  • Leg swelling
  • Leg wounds that won’t heal
  • Skin discoloration

services & treatment

If you’re uncomfortable with your varicose veins, talk with your doctor. He or she will work with you on a treatment plan tailored to your needs. It might include lifestyle changes like avoiding standing or sitting for prolonged periods without a break, elevating your legs or wearing compression stockings.

Your doctor may also recommend a procedure to correct varicose veins like:

  • Ambulatory phlebectomy – Tiny incisions are made in your skin to remove veins close to the surface. It’s usually done with a local anesthetic and often doesn’t require stitches.
  • Endoscopic vein surgery – Your doctor closes the veins with a surgical device on the end of a tiny camera attached to a catheter. This is used in severe cases, when the veins are causing skin ulcers.
  • Endovenous ablation therapy – Lasers or radio waves are delivered through a thin tube called a catheter to seal the veins.
  • Laser surgery – Intense light pulses to seal your veins and make them fade so they’re less visible.
  • Sclerotherapy – A salt solution injected into the veins makes them collapse and eventually disappear.
  • Vein stripping and ligation – This two-part procedure involves surgically tying off a vein, then “stripping” or removing it, usually through a minimally invasive surgery called venous ablation. 

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