legs with varicose veins

Minimally invasive treatments available for varicose veins

If you’re among the 20 to 30 percent of women affected by varicose veins, you may feel self-conscious about showing your legs in public. As for men, 20 percent have significant leg vein problems, according to the Vascular Disease Foundation.

Most often located along the inner calf or thigh, varicose veins appear as bulging veins that can be felt under the skin. The heart pumps blood filled with oxygen and nutrients throughout the body via the arteries. Veins then return the blood back to the heart. According Lee Health vascular surgeon Ronnie Word, M.D., weak or damaged valves in the veins can cause varicose veins.

“Veins have valves that act as one-way flaps to prevent blood from flowing backwards as it moves up your legs, against gravity,” Dr. Word explains. “If the valves are weak, blood can leak back into the veins, and stagnate there. The backed-up blood can lead to high blood pressure in the veins, making them bigger, a condition called venous insufficiency.”

Varicose veins, whether symptomatic or not, always indicate an underlying venous insufficiency disorder. Untreated varicose veins may cause pain or aching, swelling of the leg, changes in skin color, hardened skin and subcutaneous tissue, and eczema.

“If you have a dull ache or any pain whatsoever, have your condition evaluated right away,” Dr. Word says. “You should consult your doctor anyway, to learn how to keep your varicose veins from getting worse.”

The most common treatments for varicose veins include:

  • Prescription compression stockings help improve blood flow and can reduce leg swelling.
  • Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive office procedure in which a solution is injected into a damaged vein. Several treatments are required to eliminate the vein gradually, usually in three to six weeks.
  • Ambulatory phlebectomy is a minimally invasive office procedure in which the doctor removes varicose veins through tiny incisions that do not require stitches.
  • Laser treatment is an outpatient procedure in which a small laser fiber is inserted into the vein. Pulses of laser light collapse the vein. It involves no surgical cuts.
  • Radio frequency treatment uses targeted laser energy to seal off varicose veins.

Ronnie Word, M.D
Lee Physician Group
Vein and Vascular Centers
8380 Riverwalk Park Blvd.
Suite 100
Fort Myers, FL 33919
Fort Myers, FL 33908

Tags: Vascular surgery, Lee Physician Group, varicose veins, venous insufficiency