Varicose Veins and Your Legs | MedStar Health

Varicose Veins and Your Legs

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By: Arshad A Khan, MD Director Interventional Radiology, Medstar Washington Hospital Center

Arshad KhanVaricose veins are prominent & bulging leg veins that are direct result of valve malfunction. Without treatment there is increased pressure in these superficial veins resulting in their dilatation which manifests as unsightly  dilated and bulging structures just under the skin. Not only they are unsightly, but can result is further medical problems if left untreated. Varicose veins affect millions of Americans. Usually females are more affected and older age is also risk factor. Other risk factors for varicose veins are family history, pregnancy and excessive weight.

Usual presentation of varicose veins is aching pain in legs, heaviness, itching and sometimes skin ulcers. Usually the symptoms are worse as the day progresses and are at peak in the evening. Relief is found by sitting down and elevating your legs.

If you think that you may have varicose veins, please consult your doctor for evaluation. Your doctor may order and ultrasound of your leg veins to see the valvular function. If needed you could be referred to vascular specialist for evaluation and treatment.

Usually treatments for varicose veins are compression stockings , vein ablation ( closing the vein with heat either with laser or radiofrequency), phlebectomy (removal of tiny pieces of veins thru needle tracks) and sclerotherapy (injection of medication into varicose veins to destroy the vein wall and make spider veins disappear). All these treatments are performed as outpatient and take 1-2 hours and you can return to work on the same day.

If you need an evaluation for varicose veins, you can have a consult with one of the interventional radiologists who are minimally invasive vascular physicians and are now available at Medstar Southern Maryland Hospital for consultation.