Varicose veins are enlarged, bulging and tortuous veins, typically on the skin surface. Veins are the vessels that carry blood back toward the heart, relying on leg muscle contraction and a series of one-way valves. If the venous valves fail, blood that normally flows upward, leaks back and pools inside the veins. This blood pooling stretches the vein wall and causes enlarged and swollen veins. These enlarged swollen veins appear as ropey bumps and are called varicose veins.
Commonly associated symptoms of varicose veins include:
Anyone may develop varicose veins, especially women of childbearing age and older; however, men and women of any age may be affected. The contributing factors include: heredity, multiple pregnancies, aging, hormonal influences and injury.
Varicose veins are easily recognized by an experienced physician. However, deeper underlying vein problems may be present that are not visible on the skin surface. Therefore, the clinical examination is generally complemented by ultrasound evaluation. The ultrasound evaluation documents the severity of the venous disorder, and helps to determine a treatment plan.
Following a thorough diagnostic evaluation, a treatment plan is developed. Our treatment for varicose veins or venous insufficiency for Minneapolis patients may include lifestyle changes and medical procedures. Lifestyle changes may include intermittent leg elevation, regular exercise and the avoidance of prolonged standing or sitting. Medical treatment options may include compression stockings, vein injections (sclerotherapy) or outpatient procedures (endovenous laser ablation and ambulatory microphlebectomy).