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Common Complications of Varicose Veins

Varicose Veins,  Common Complications

Most people realize varicose veins are unsightly, but not everyone is aware they can cause serious medical complications if not treated early by a vein specialist. Awareness of potential complications can be the first step in understanding the importance of seeking a vein consultation.  Vein health knowledge helps those affected to appreciate the importance of evaluation and vein treatment.  Eliminating faulty veins can prevent complications and improve overall health.

Most Common Complications

Varicose veins develop when vein valves fail to function properly.  Vein valves are responsible for moving blood upward to the heart/lungs for re-oxygenation.  When these valves become weak or damaged, blood flow slows and even starts to ‘reverse flow’ and begin to pool in the lower legs.  Varicose veins are a symptom of improper venous blood flow and related problems do occur with this ‘reflux’ of blood flow.  Some of the most common complications include:

  • Ulcerations: Ulcers are deeper wounds resulting from an associated refluxing or varicose vein.  Vein Disease can cause skin to become thin and fragile, increasing the incidence of skin ulcers and infections.
  • Eczema: The condition of skin itchiness can occur as a consequence of poor skin circulation related to venous insufficiency (venous reflux) and varicose veins.  This may occur even if there has been no prior eczema elsewhere.
  • Leg cramps and pain: Symptoms associated with varicose veins may be sharp or dull achiness; symptoms usually worsen by day’s end.  Often times, pain is accompanied by ankle swelling and leg fatigue affecting your normal daily activities.
  • Lipodermatosclerosis: As vein disorders advance further more serious skin changes may occur.  Lipodermatosclerosis causes the skin around the varicose veins to thicken, becoming hardened and eventually turn dark brown.  These changes are a result of scar tissue build up.
  • Restless leg syndrome: One of the more annoying complications of venous disorders is this symptom causing an irresistible urge to move the legs.  It very often occurs at rest or while trying to sleep.
  • Superficial thrombophlebitis: When blood flow pools in the lower legs, the superficial veins become susceptible to injury and irritation.  This may result in a superficial vein blood clot causing local warmth, tenderness and/or pain  Treatment is important as some blood clots tend to travel, especially if close to the deep venous system where they may migrate and affect larger body organs.

Vein Treatment Can Prevent Complication Occurrence

Minnesota Vein Center in North Oaks has provided vein treatment options for 14 years for patients of the St. Paul/Minneapolis region.  Today, there are more treatment options available.  With the advances in vein medicine and vein treatments/technologies, specific treatment plans and procedure modalities are now available which can be tailored to each patients need.

Prompt vein treatment is the most important measure you can take to prevent varicose vein complications and improve your overall venous circulation.  If you would like more information regarding the vein disorders such as varicose veins and their treatments, call our specialty team at 651-765-8346 at Minnesota Vein Center.

Five Tips for Successful Vein Treatment

sticky note five tips for successful vein treatment

For those patients with venous insufficiency and varicose veins, the most effective treatments are minimally invasive procedures such as a vein ablation, phlebectomy or sclerotherapy. These advanced measures provide lasting relief from your symptoms and significantly reduce the recurrence of venous disorders, making them an optimal solution for most patients.

Like all medical treatment, however, treatments of vein disorders do take some preparation from the patient for best outcomes.  Here are the basic suggestions to help optimize your treatment outcomes.

1.  Stay Hydrated

Dehydration may cause constriction of your veins.  Maintaining hydration promotes ease of vein treatments.  Remember water is the major component of blood; the body’s circulation does not function well with inadequate hydration.

2.  Take Medications in Advance

If you would like a mild sedative before your procedure, be sure to alert our staff on your procedure day just prior for your treatment.  If you plan to take our mild oral sedative, have a friend or relative drive you to and from your appointment.

3.  Wear Comfortable Clothing

Since your veins should be as relaxed as possible before and during the procedure, wear loose fitting clothing to minimize the pressure on your veins.

To promote circulation in the treated veins, you’ll also want to keep a pair of compression stockings on hand to put on after your procedure.

4.  Provide Necessary Documentation

Some insurance providers require a referral or other documentation before covering the cost of a vein procedure. Our staff will help to ensure your documentation is in order.  Bring any appropriate or additional paperwork to your vein specialist as soon as possible.

5.  Avoid lotions and cosmetics

Many procedures require pre-procedure skin marking, however, lotions or cosmetics may interfere with surgical pen marking placement.  Since makeup, deodorant, cologne, lotions and powders may also affect a sclerosant  procedure, you should not apply them to the area being treated.

If you have any questions about preparing for a vein procedure, our specialists at Minnesota Vein Center are here to help.  Schedule an appointment online or call us at 651-765-8346 to start exploring treatment options.

Missed diagnosis: Venous Insufficiency

Many people are out there who suffer with unnecessary leg pain.  Often this is because their physician or nurse practitioner did not consider venous insufficiency – the backward flow of blood through leg veins – as the possible source of a patient’s leg pain.  And when these signs of venous insufficiency – feelings of achiness, heaviness, tiredness, restlessness, or a dull pain or swelling in the legs – are misread for another condition, temporary or band aide treatments are often prescribed.  These treatments usually deal with what is seen superficially.  This is bad news for the venous insufficiency sufferers because over time, this condition may advance to a point where pain becomes much more evident and manifest itself in the form of skin ulcers, skin discoloration, edema or another debilitating conditions.

There is good news.  If you are one of those who have leg pain or any type of discomfort in your legs, a simple vein consultation and an ultrasound evaluation with a vein specialist can determine if venous insufficiency is present.  At least 97% of people who are properly diagnosed and who obtain state-of-the-art image-guided treatment do experience immediate relief of their symptoms.

There is more good news.  Venous insufficiency is considered a medical condition.  Minimally invasive vein treatments, such as radiofrequency ( Venefit) Laser ( Cooltouch) and ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy treatments are covered by most insurance carriers and Medicare.   These highly effective vein treatments for venous insufficiency, close the insufficient  vein – and stops the pain – at any stage of the disease, with little or no down time.

Best news of all, you can end your vein pain.  Call our team for a consultation with a specialist.  651-765-8346.

March is DVT Awareness Month

athlete grasping cred tender calf

In 2008, the Surgeon General initiated a ‘Call to Action’ to spotlight deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, the commonly misdiagnosed and misunderstood conditions responsible for over 100,000 deaths per year.  Today over 2 million Americans are affected annually by DVT/PE, yet most Americans have little awareness.

DVT is a serious condition in which a clot forms inside a vein located deep inside the body.  Deep vein clots can occur throughout the body, however, they are commonly found in the lower leg, thigh, arm or pelvis.

Blood clots can be dangerous because they block vein blood flow, causing discomfort, swelling or redness in and around the area of the clot.  They may also break away and travel through the veins and lodge in the lungs, affecting blood flow and breathing. This is called Pulmonary Embolism (PE) and may cause serious lung damage, heart failure and death.

Risk Factors in deep vein thrombosis.   The risk factors may be considered strong, moderate or mild risks.  Those who develop DVT often have multiple risk factors present.

  • Extended hospitalization stay
  • Surgery ( especially knee, hip or cancer-related surgeries)
  • Immobility due to bed-rest, long travels, trauma
  • Family or personal history of DVT or clotting disorder
  • Age over 65
  • Cancer/Chemotherapy
  • Estrogen based medications
  • Other:  Obesity, Smoking, Alcohol, Pregnancy, Dehydration

Warning signs of deep vein thrombosis.  There are approximately 900,000 DVT incidents per year in the U.S.  DVT can be hard to recognize; it can be a ‘silent’ condition. Additionally, other conditions mimic DVT such as muscle strain, skin infections, and phlebitis.  An undiagnosed DVT episode then may lead to serious complications such as chronic blood flow problems of the legs (post-thrombotic syndrome) and pulmonary embolism.  When symptoms are present they may include:

  • Pain or soreness  in leg or arm
  • Skin that is warm to touch
  • Skin discoloration (red, brown, bluish)
  • Swelling, cramping or inflammation of leg or arm

 

If these symptoms are present, a physician should obtain an evaluation for suspected DVT.  This should include an ultrasound (duplex scan) performed by a registered vascular technician (RVT) either in a vein or vascular specialty clinic or in the hospital.

Warning signs of pulmonary embolism.  Pulmonary embolism is a life-threatening complication of deep vein thrombosis.  Over 300,000 Americans die of PE each year. Immediate hospital medical attention and treatment is necessary for the following:

  • Sudden, unexplained shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or chest discomfort worsening with deep breath
  • A rapid pulse or increase in pulse
  • Cough with blood tinged sputum
  • Sensation of lightheadedness or dizziness

Prevention may also include maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding inactivity, staying hydrated, or using compression stockings with long travel.  New technologies are available for prevention and treatment which may improve health outcomes and save lives. It’s important to understand your own risks and to report warning signs quickly.

This March DVT Awareness Month, the Minnesota Vein Center team joins together with other health advocacy groups to increase DVT awareness.  You can help by being personally aware and by sharing this information with co-workers, friends and loved ones.  If you would like to learn more call us at 651-765-8346.

 

Vein Health Terminology

female rubbing lower leg after work

Superficial thrombophlebitis is an inflammatory condition of the veins due to a blood clot just below the surface of the skin. It usually occurs in the legs, but it can occasionally occur in the arms and neck. Anyone can develop superficial thrombophlebitis, but females are affected more than males.

Several factors contribute to and increase the risk of developing superficial thrombophlebitis. The more common risk factors include:

  • Recent IV, catheter, or injection into a vein
  • Sitting or lying down for too long, such as on a long flight
  • Varicose veins
  • Pregnancy
  • Infection
  • Disorders that increase blood clotting
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Oral contraceptives and hormone replacement medications
  • Being over 60
  • Chemical irritation, such as from cancer treatments
  • Superficial thrombophlebitis is also associated with more serious medical conditions, including:
  • Deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in a deep vein)
  • Cancers of the abdomen, such as pancreatic cancer
  • Factor V Leiden (a genetic blood clotting disorder)
  • Prothrombin gene mutation (a gene mutation that causes a blood clotting disorder)
  • Thromboangiitis obliterans (blockage of the blood vessels in the hands and feet)

Symptoms of superficial thrombophlebitis include:

  • Redness and inflammation of the skin along a vein
  • Warmth of the skin and tissue around the vein
  • Tenderness and pain that worsens with added pressure
  • Pain in the limb
  • Darkening of the skin over the vein
  • Hardening of the vein

Superficial thrombophlebitis is treated at home in most cases. Your doctor might recommend applying a warm compress to the affected area and elevating it to relieve swelling. Wearing support stockings can also help reduce swelling.

Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and aspirin and moist heat can help reduce the redness and irritation caused by inflammation. This condition usually goes away within two weeks. It can take longer for the hardness in your vein to subside.

In a rare, serious instance, removal of the vein is necessary. This is more common if you have varicose veins.

If you think you might be at risk, we recommend contacting a doctor. If you live in Minnesota, Western Wisconsin or surrounding areas, contact the experienced staff at Minnesota Vein Center   www.mnveincenter.com

 

 

Free Vein Screening. Jan/Feb. 2018

gal and guy snow showing bright sun

Call: 651-765-8346 or Schedule Here.

We are offering Free Vein Screening appointments from 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.   every Monday-Thursday: 

From Monday, January 29th through  Thursday, February 15th at Minnesota Vein Center, North Oaks, MN 55127.

Varicose and venous disease are hereditary conditions; left untreated they may  result in more serious problems. Please share this event with your Friends and  Family.

Free vein screenings include a history, exam and ultrasound. Screenings are  approximately 20 minutes. To request your free vein screening  appointment, please complete the form below, providing your preferred dates,  or call us at 651-765-8346.

Thank you for your interest in Minnesota Vein Center.  This event has ended.  Please watch for quarterly Free Vein Screening and other events or sign up for our newsletter for upcoming screening dates.  We look forward to helping with your vein health care needs.

 

Still Confused?

Why patients chose Minnesota Vein Center

Dr. Primepares G. Pal and the vein specialty  professionals at Minnesota Vein Center will provide your care using state-of-the-art treatments and provide superior attention to detail.  Are you still confused about finding the best vein care?  Here is what sets us apart from other vein centers and practices:

  1. We focus exclusively on superior vein care by a double boarded physician. (Board-Certified Internist, and one of first physicians Board-Certified in Venous and Lymphatic Medicine.)
  2. Venous disease is our Specialty; as of 2018 we have  performed over 20,000 minimally-invasive treatments at one location since 2004.
  3. We are a local physician practice dedicated solely to your vein care – and are not corporate-owned.  We maintain hospital and insurance credentialing.
  4. We are of the First Dedicated Vein Center’s in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and suburb and are conveniently located.  Our patients are not only local but come to us from Northern Minnesota, Western Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Iowa.
  5. Your total care will be completed in our North Oaks office from evaluation, treatment to follow-up, always with the same physician and staff. Our center is highly- efficient and outcome-focused.   We are the primary care physicians preferred vein center for referral.
  6. We offer expert and full services all in one setting,  including:  Ultrasound vein diagnostics and mapping,  Endovenous Ablation  ( radiofrequency, laser, venaseal, and Moca), Phlebectomy, Ultrasound-guided chemical ablation and superficial sclerotherapy treatments. VeinWave.
  7. We have highly credentialed, experienced dedicated staff and use the most advanced treatment technologies and electronic medical records.
  8. Treatments are minimally invasive vein procedures for venous insufficiency, varicose and spider veins.  These are quick, easy and with little or no down time.  Care is comprehensive with minimal return treatment visits.
  9. We provide quarterly Complimentary Vein Screenings which includes modified exam and ultrasound.
  10. We accept all major insurances, Medicare and offer Care Credit services.

No longer confused? or  just in need more information?   Contact our vein specialist today and experience Minnesota Vein Center for yourself:   651.765.8346.

 

 

 

Your Vein Health, Your Options

Request a Consultation to learn about our treatment options. 

For many people, varicose and spider veins are not only unsightly, but can be painful.  At Minnesota Vein Center, we combine the latest technology with our team of highly-trained specialists to evaluate and diagnose your vein conditions.

During your initial vein evaluation, Dr. Pal will discuss potential treatment options based upon your condition and create a treatment plan to achieve the best possible outcome for you.   Request a Consultation or call us today at 651-765-8346.

Treatment options for varicose veins include:

Sclerotherapy

With this treatment, a medication or solution is injected into your veins.  The solution helps the vein to shrink, and over time, reduce or disappear.  The procedure is quick and can be done in our clinic with little to no recovery time.

Endovenous  Ablation:   Radiofrequency, Laser, VenaSeal or ClariVein

During venous ablation, a very small catheter is inserted into the problematic vein and is treated with thermal energy (radiofrequency or laser) or non-thermal medical glue (VenaSeal) or ClariVein.  These procedures are quick and are completed in our clinic with little or no recovery time.

Compression stockings are recommended for a short 10 day period following thermal ablation.

Ambulatory Phlebectomy

This procedure allows the very superficial vein to be removed through several very tiny punctures made along the course of a bulging vein.  Patients are able to return to normal activity levels quickly.  The outcome has both medical and cosmetic benefits.

Varicose Veins Worsen Over Time

Varicose veins affect over 40 million people in the United States.  Today, statistics show that one out of five people in both male and female populations, will develop varicose veins.  If left untreated these unhealthy veins progress in severity leading to bleeding, thrombophlebitis, skin discoloration or ulcerations and other difficult complications.

 

New Year’s Resolutions and Your Veins

green apple, free weights and tape measure for vein health resolution

“This year I will take care of my health.”   Does this sound like you?  At the beginning of the year, many people resolve to exercise regularly, quit smoking, see their doctor, and start a healthy life-style plan.  These are all excellent resolutions for 2018, but you should include one more:  vein health.

Vein disorders and diseases affect millions of people. These occur when valves in veins of the legs fail to move blood back to the heart.  This can cause pain, swelling, varicose veins, or worse.  It is a chronic and a progressive problem, and left untreated, it can lead to serious medical complications. “Venous disease is a very common health-related disorder among Americans and among populations worldwide”, said Dr. Primepares Pal,  a Board–certified vein specialist at Minnesota Vein Center,  “ however, most people are not aware that it may be affecting them, or that there are technically advanced minimally invasive treatments available.”

Here are three things that people can do to improve— or prevent— vein problems in the new year:

  1. Exercise. This can be as simple and effective as walking just 30 minutes a day. Walking causes the regular contraction of calf muscles and helps promote blood flow to the heart.
  2. Quit smoking. Smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke affects veins, arteries and the entire circulatory system. It can make venous symptoms, like leg aches and pains, even worse.
  3. See your doctor. Ask your primary care physician about venous issues, especially if ‘varicose veins” are common among family members. Your doctor can refer you to a board certified phlebologist ( Vein Specialist) for a screening and evaluation.

To learn more about how to identify, prevent and treat venous disease, visit  mnveincenter.com  Dr Primepares Pal is the founder of the Minnesota Vein Center. certified by the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine and cares for all levels of venous disease, including spider veins, varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis and venous stasis ulcers