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Removing Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are a common vein disorder that can happen to anyone and are most prevalent in women, elderly people and during pregnancy.  Varicose veins are unsightly, but they are more than just a cosmetic issue because when left untreated, these veins can cause serious health complications.

In the past, varicose vein removal treatments were difficult and painful; now, there are easier, less-painful, and faster procedures to remove varicose veins.

Kathy Stewart suffered from varicose veins for more than 30 years since she gave birth to her son. She said that her varicose veins did not cause her any discomfort. However, her varicose veins were unsightly, especially when she wore shorts, so she just made sure that the shorts she wore were long enough to cover her ugly varicose veins. According to Stewart, her varicose veins were caused by her desk job and heredity. Her mother, as well as her sisters, suffered from varicose veins.  

Kathy Stewart did not feel any throbbing, heaviness, burning, and cramping on her legs. Then one day she accidentally bumped an area of her leg with varicose veins, which lead to bleeding. Stewart described her bleeding as a little spout spraying blood in all directions.

With what happened to Stewart’s leg, she realized that she needed to take some actions. She decided to undergo vein treatment. The standard vein treatment procedure in her mother’s time was vein stripping, a procedure in which varicose veins are removed. However, vein stripping is not effective for everyone, so vein specialists developed other procedures to remove varicose veins and other defective veins.

According to Dr. Satish Muluk, a vascular surgeon at the Allegheny General Hospital, doctors today use ultrasound to detect the exact location of the damaged veins.

The function of veins is to deliver deoxygenated blood back to the lungs and heart. Veins become damaged when their valves do not close and allow deoxygenated blood to backflow down to the legs. If this happens, blood collects in the legs and causes veins to bulge and form humps.

One of the most common vein treatment procedures done today is called the radiofrequency ablation. The procedure requires a thin catheter to be inserted into the vein; this catheter emits laser or radiofrequency energy and kills the dysfunctional vein. This procedure does not require hospitalization as it can be done inside the doctor’s clinic. Patients can go back to their normal activities a few hours after the procedure is done. Patients may experience mild bleeding, local tenderness, and swelling after the procedure, but these complications rarely happen. A few weeks after the procedure, minimal surgery is performed to remove the dead veins.

Kathy Stewart underwent radiofrequency ablation. She did not experience any pain during the procedure or any discomforts after the veins were removed. She feels more carefree and confident now that her legs are varicose vein –free.

Dr. Muluk said that varicose veins are more than just a cosmetic issue. It is important to seek medical help to avoid serious complications such as skin ulcers, bleeding, and many more. Read more on DoctorQA to find out which varicose vein treatment is right for you.

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