WHAT IS A VARICOSE VEIN?
A varicose vein is defined as the enlargement and twisting of the veins under the skin in the lower part of the body, making these veins appear blue in color. This condition leads to swelling in the leg due to dilation of the veins. In more advanced stages, this can even cause the formation of large vascular bundles and vascular cracks. In addition to causing swelling, it causes redness and soreness in the legs in case a clot forms. It is therefore both aesthetically and functionally harmful for people.
What Causes A Varicose Vein?
There are many factors associated with the formation varicose veins. These include being pregnant, spending a lot of time on your feet, being inactive, wearing tight clothing, being older, working in certain professions, using certain medications, such birth control pills, and having certain genetic predispositions.
The veins help cleanse dirty blood by transporting it to the heart. When dirty blood is transferred from the bottom to the top, it passes through valves inside the blood vessel. In some cases, these valves may deform and fail. As a result, the blood escapes back through the valves and causes pressure and swelling in the veins. The accumulation of blood in the vein causes deformation, swelling and twisting of the vein. This deformation can occur at any level of the vein.
Varicose veins can also be brought on by certain aspects of daily living, such as inactivity and clothing choices. To avoid varicose veins, one should alter these daily routines.
What are the Symptoms of Varicose Veins?
Symptoms caused by varicose veins can be expressed as follows:
- Blue and purple discoloration of the veins under the skin
- Appearance of deformed, dilated and twisted veins under the skin
- Burning, itching, pain, fatigue and throbbing in the legs
- Edema formation
How to Diagnose Varicose Veins?
For the diagnosis of varicose veins, radiological examinations are performed. Color Doppler ultrasonography produces the most accurate and comprehensive findings for these tests. Color Doppler ultrasonography enables clear and precise examinations of the structure of the vein, clot and valve status.
Computed tomography, MRI and venography examinations are also performed, although rarely. Diagnosis is very important for the treatment process. The diagnosis determines the appropriate course of action and treatment.
What are the Types of Varicose Veins?
According to their shape and properties, varicose veins can be divided into three categories:
- Capillary Varicose Veins: Also called telangiectasis. It occurs when the capillaries crack. It creates an image resembling a cobweb. Capillary varicose veins in women can be brought on by pregnancy, birth control, and hormone therapy.
- Reticular Varicose Veins: A type of varicose veins usually seen behind the knee and ankle. In these areas, blue veins appear under the skin.
- Large Varicose Veins: Caused by insufficiency, clots and leaks in the large veins. This causes a raised and greenish structure under the skin.
- Deep Large Varicose Veins: This is a type of varicose veins that is deep in the skin and is not visible from the outside. However, it creates edema and circulation problems in the individual.
How to Treat Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are not only aesthetically harmful but also affect the daily life of the person. In some people, it can also cause clots in the lung. Therefore, proper treatment methods must be used.
The goal of varicose vein treatment is to repair distorted and inadequate veins, control the condition of varicose veins, and avoid recurrence.
Which Methods to Use in Varicose Veins Treatment?
With the advancing technology, many different varicose vein treatment methods have been found. While some of these methods involve surgical procedures, others do not. Treatment methods may have different effects and persistence.
Varicose Vein Surgery: Small incisions are made in the ankle and groin area. The problematic blood vessel is incised and the procedure is finalized by connecting the ends of the blood vessels together. This operation is performed under anesthesia. This is a conventional and old method used in the treatment of varicose veins. More practical and appropriate treatment methods are used today.
Aesthetic Phlebology: Varicose veins can be treated with aesthetic phlebology techniques that do not require surgery and leave no visible scars. These methods consist of intravenous laser, radiofrequency, medical adhesive, microsurgery and sclerotherapy.
These methods are as follows:
- Intrapake Laser Ablation: A specifically designed catheter is introduced into the vein during the Laser Ablation procedure. The troublesome vein is burned from the inside out using the high-powered laser energy. After sufficient time, the burned vessel shrinks and disappears. Circulatory functions can so continue to work normally. Laser treatment takes approximately 1 hour. After the treated area is bandaged, the patient is discharged from the hospital. Compression socks may need to be worn following the procedure.
The Laser Ablation method can be administered together with local anesthesia. During the procedure, there is usually no incision and no surgical procedure. Therefore, no permanent scars are formed on the body. Also after treatment, side effects such as bruising and swelling are minimized. Any redness caused by the laser beam also disappears within a few weeks.
- Radiofrequency Method: This method is applied under local anesthesia and using ultrasound. No surgical procedure is performed. As a result, there is less risk of skin bruising, swelling, and pain. Heavy physical activity should be avoided after treatment.
- Bonding Method: This method is similar to the laser method in that a specially developed catheter is inserted into the vein. Afterwards, the varicose vein is sealed with a special medical adhesive and eliminated. This way, the blood is directed to normal veins free of varicose.
The bonding method is performed under local anesthesia without surgical incision. This method helps to minimize post-treatment swelling, bruising, and pain.
- Sclerotherapy: This treatment is also known as needle therapy. Freezing medication is administered into the varicose vein with a needle. This freezes the problematic vessel. This procedure is not applied to large vessels. This is used for the treatment of varicose veins seen in capillaries.
- Foam Therapy: This procedure is the process of applying the drug used in sclerotherapy to the varicose vein by foaming it with air. The problematic vein is freezed, deactivated and blood circulation is restored to normal. This method requires using less medication than conventional needle therapy, but it acts faster on large veins. This method is more advantageous than other treatment methods in terms of comfort and effectiveness.
- Using compression socks: Compression socks are used as support in the treatment of varicose veins. Compression socks are recommended for a while after the treatment procedures. Except when sleeping, these socks should be worn constantly, per the doctor’s recommendation.
What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition where a vein is blocked by a clot that prevents blood circulation. This condition is usually seen in people aged 40 years and older, but it is rarely seen in young people. In case of delayed treatment, this disease can cause serious problems. The rupture of a clot in a vein can lead to pulmonary embolism and death.
It’s critical to identify and treat Deep Vein Thrombosis within the first two weeks of the condition. Successful outcomes from therapies administered with a catheter are acquired over the course of the two-week timeframe. So, if you experience sudden, acute pain or swelling in your ankle or lower leg, you should immediately consult with a physician. Open sores and varicose veins may emerge in the latter stages of the disease.
How to Treat Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Deep vein thrombosis starts at the ankles and progresses towards the groin. When the clot is only in the ankles or only in one part of the legs, it can be treated with blood thinners. But medication is insufficient if it has spread to most of the legs and the groin. In this method, when extensive clot development takes place, angiography treatment is used.
Frequently Asked Questions About Varicose Veins and Varicose Veins Treatment
What causes varicose veins?
The exact cause of varicose veins is not known. However, this can be brought on by inactivity, tight clothing, hormone-related drugs, age, weight, pregnancy, and genetic factors. The veins that transport blood in the circulatory system may become insufficient and malformed as a result of these conditions. For this reason, blood flow cannot be ensured properly leading to swelling and twisting of the veins.
Is it possible to treat varicose veins aesthetically?
Today, it is possible to eliminate varicose veins in an aesthetic manner. Methods such as laser therapy, sclerotherapy and foam therapy do not involve surgery. Therefore, there is no post-treatment scarring. Also, these methods can be used to treat varicose veins in a shorter time and with fewer side effects.
Will my varicose veins come back after treatment?
Diagnosis and the treatment method applied are very significant in the treatment of varicose veins. Incorrect diagnosis and treatment will cause varicose veins to come back. However, in some cases, varicose veins may reappear despite appropriate treatment. The treatment does not guarantee that varicose veins will not appear elsewhere in the body. There is a risk of reoccurrence, especially in people with a physical susceptibility.
Does sealing varicose veins affect blood flow?
The main concern of people who want to be treated for varicose veins is whether the blood flow is affected. Varicose veins are sealed during varicose vein treatment and blood flow is directed to healthy veins. However, this situation does not adversely affect blood flow. Instead, it promotes a faster, healthier blood flow. This is because varicose veins are deformed and twisted veins. In short, varicose veins cannot provide blood flow. Therefore, the sealing of varicose veins has no negative effects.
When to consult a doctor for treatment of varicose veins?
Varicose veins do not require treatment unless they cause swelling, bruising, pain and redness. However, in these cases, cardiovascular surgeons should be consulted for treatment. These conditions in varicose veins may pose a life risk for the patient.
What to Do to Prevent Varicose Veins?
The cause of varicose veins is not known exactly, but some of our daily activities can cause it. Therefore, we can protect ourselves against varicose veins by changing our daily activities. We can express what to do to prevent varicose veins as follows:
- Take care not to be sedentary and move a lot.
- Wash your legs with cold water to speed up blood flow.
- Avoid tight clothing that slows blood flow and choose loose-fitting clothes.
- Do not stand in high heels for a long time.
- Eat healthy and drink enough water.
- Do not use any medication or compression socks without a physician’s recommendation.
- Do leg exercises.