Varicose Veins: An Overview
Varicose veins are swollen, bulging, twisted veins that appear just under the surface of the skin. Usually occurring on legs and ankles, varicose veins can be both unsightly and painful.
What causes varicose veins? In short, varicose veins result from improper blood circulation. Veins have one-way valves that regulate circulation and keep blood flowing from the legs to the heart. If the wall of the vein becomes stretched or loses elasticity, the valves can be weakened. Varicose veins occur when the valves of the veins have weakened and do not function properly, causing blood to back up in the vein and collect. This collection, or pool, of blood induces the veins to swell and become enlarged. At Western Vascular Institute, our vein doctors can diagnose varicose veins through an angiogram. Varicose veins are a common condition with a variety of risk factors, including family history, age, pregnancy, and obesity.
Dr. Mitar Vranic and Dr. Henry Tarlian of Western Vascular Institute in Mesa, AZ recommend treatment for your varicose veins if you:
- are experiencing pain or discomfort that interrupts your daily routine
- are suffering from related complications, such as leg ulcers, swelling or discoloration
- wish to improve the appearance of your legs
Endovenous Radio Frequency Treatment for Varicose Veins
In recent years, advanced radio frequency (RF) technologies have developed to treat varicose veins. Less painful than vein ligation and stripping surgery—where incisions are made and the damaged vein is tied off or removed—endovenous RF treatment can effectively seal the vein and relieve symptoms associated with the damaged vein.
During endovenous RF treatment, in our in-office operation room, a thin tube (catheter) is inserted into the damaged vein and RF is passed through the catheter. As it is guided through the entire length of the vein, the RF delivers a sustained heat from the energy that causes the damaged vein to collapse and close. When the damaged vein is closed, it loses its blood supply. Blood flow is then naturally rerouted to the surrounding healthy veins. Eventually the vein will completely disappear. Some advantages to endoscopic RF surgery include:
- Shorter recovery time than vein ligation and stripping surgery
- Less painful than surgery
- Only a local anesthesia or a light sedative is necessary
- Highly effective, with a success rate of 96%
After the RF procedure, patients can generally return to their normal routines. The treated area may be bruised and tender, which eventually subsides, and patients are advised to wear a compression stocking for a week following treatment. During a follow up visit, Drs. Vranic and Tarlian will make sure the vein has closed using ultrasound imaging.