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What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged veins that often appear ropey and look blue or red. However they also often occur deeper under your skin where you are not able to see them. People who suffer from this condition often have a family history of varicose veins. They also frequently affect pregnant women and those with occupations that require long periods of standing, such as nurses and teachers. 

What Causes Varicose Veins?

There are many myths around vein disease. For instance although pregnancy can aggravate vein disease, it doesn't actually cause it. If you have varicose or spider veins, it is likely that someone else in your family has them as well. More than 80 percent of the time it is genetic.  This means they aren't caused by long periods of standing or crossing your legs when you sit down. Even so, long periods of standing, as well as obesity, can make it worse.

Varicose veins are caused by unhealthy valves inside the veins. When these valves fail or leak, the blood falls backward through the poorly functioning valve.  Gravity causes the blood to gather in the veins and makes them look enlarged, twisted, full or bulging. 

Aside from their unpleasant appearance, other side effects of varicose veins include pain, fatigue, itching, burning, swelling, cramping, restlessness and throbbing, which worsen over time. 

How Can Varicose Veins be Treated?

Our physicians use both endovenous laser treatment (ELT) and ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy to treat varicose veins.

Endovenous laser treatment (ELT, or sometimes referred to as EVLT) is a minimally-invasive laser treatment that requires no hospitalization and no complicated surgery.

The entire procedure, from start to finish, takes about an hour and there is very little to no pain. Another advantage of treating varicose veins with endovenous laser treatment is that most insurance plans and Medicare cover it. 

For larger varicose veins, our physicians utilize ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy. The ultrasound provides a live view of your veins, ensuring the physician is injecting the sclerosant into the precise location for the best treatment results. 

Once the vein is closed, the blood that was circulating through the abnormal vein is naturally rerouted to other healthy veins. Over time, the treated vein is absorbed by the body. 

Varicose and spider veins can be uncomfortable and may only get worse if left untreated.

What's My Next Step?

Ready for the next step? Learn more about treatment options.

Have a Question? 

Find the answer by reading our FAQ or emailing one of our experts.

Varicose Veins - Before and After
Varicose Veins - Before and After