What are varicose veins and spider veins?Abnormally thickened or twisted and blue/redcoloured veins underneath the skin are called Varicose Veins. It can build up in any part of the body but most often legs & feet are affected. Varicose veins when swollen can become tender to touch. Spider veins look similar to web structure and are smaller blue, red& purple in colour. They can be easily seen under the skin and legs, chest, or face are affected. Both conditions are harmless but sometimes symptoms like burning, pain, swollen ankles, aching may arise. These conditions are the indication of bad blood circulation in the affected part. It may be due to hereditary factor, occupation whichinvolves lot of standing, hormones, blood clots and increased pressure in the affected part.
CausesThe function of vein is to push back deoxygenated blood to the heart for purifying. This ‘pushing back’ action is performed by the surrounding muscles and a network of valves present inside the veins. To prevent backflow, the cup-like valves alternately open and close to circulate blood to and fro. In varicose veins valves are damaged and do not work properly which increases pressure and congestion of blood in that area. The veins start bulging and twisting because superficial veins have less muscle support than deep veins. Thus it results in ‘Varicose or spider veins’. Pregnancy, obesity, lack of exercise, protracted constipation and standing for longer durations can cause varicose& spider veins. Deep vein thrombosis is an indication of a blockage in the deeper veins.
What are the symptoms?The symptoms may include:-
- Legswelling, cramps and sores
- Feeling of heaviness in the legs
- Skin discoloration
- Dry and thin skin
- Scaling and open sores
- May bleed due to minor injury
Varicose Veins TreatmentNot always there is a need of treatment for this condition, self-care may help in preventing it. Self-care treatment includes usingof compression stockingsto improve circulation, regular exercise, elevating affected area while resting and avoiding standing up for longerdurations. Doctor may suggest further treatments like Endothermal ablation,Radiofrequency ablation, Endovenous laser treatment,Ultrasound-guided foam Sclerotherapy,Ligation & stripping surgery and Trans illuminated powered phlebectomy.
Varicose veins removalVaricose veins treatment is less invasive procedure and can be treated on an outpatient basis. Doctor will examine the veins and may suggest:
- Sclerotherapy: In this, doctor will inject a solution in affected veins that will scar and close the vein right away. After few days gradually veins start to disappear.
- Laser surgeries: This surgery works fine on both varicose as well as spider veins. In this, bursts of laser light is sent on the affected vein where is starts fading away. It is incision & needle-free surgery.
- Catheter-assisted procedures: It is generally done on large varicose veins where doctor inserts a thin catheter into the enlarged vein and heats the top of this tube. The heat destroys the vein folds and closes it permanently.
- Vein stripping: It is an outpatient procedure in which a long vein is removed through small incisions. It won’t affect circulation in the leg because large volumes of blood are taken care by deeper veins.
- Ambulatory phlebectomy: It is also an outpatient procedure in which small varicose veins are removed by a series of tiny skin punctures. Only the affected part which is being pricked is numbed in this procedure.
- Endoscopic vein surgery: Another outpatient procedure where a surgeon with the help of tiny thin camera and surgical instruments will close and remove the veins through small incisions.