Treating varicose veins

There are options for sufferers

Published On: Apr 24 2013 11:26:52 AM CDT

BACKGROUND: Varicose veins are enlarged veins that can be blue, red, or flesh-colored. They often look like cords and appear twisted and bulging. They can be swollen and raised above the surface of the skin. Varicose veins are often found on the thighs, backs of the calves, or the inside of the leg. During pregnancy, varicose veins can form around the vagina and buttocks. (SOURCE: www.womenshealth.gov

SYMPTOMS: When painful signs and symptoms occur, they may include:

(SOURCE: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/varicose-veins/)

CAUSES: Varicose veins are caused by weakened valves and veins in the legs. Normally, one-way valves in the veins keep blood flowing from the legs up toward the heart. When these valves do not work as they should, blood collects in the legs, and pressure builds up. The veins become weak, large, and twisted. Varicose veins often run in families. Aging also increases the risk, as well as being overweight or pregnant. Having a job where one must stand for long periods of time increases pressure on leg veins; this too can cause varicose veins. (SOURCE: http://www.webmd.com)

TREATMENT: Vein stripping surgery removes varicose veins in the legs. It is usually only done in patients who are having a lot of pain or who have skin sores. This procedure is performed in an operating room and it is very expensive. The current treatment of choice over surgery for physicians and patients with superficial venous insufficiency and varicose veins is endovenous catheter ablation. This procedure involves targeting heat energy inside a vein to seal it. Heat may be created by a laser (endovenous laser ablation, or EVLA) or by radio waves (endovenous radiofrequency ablation, or RFA). With the diseased vein sealed, other healthy veins carry blood from the leg, re-establishing the normal flow. This is an out-patient procedure and it can be done for a fraction of the cost of vein stripping. (SOURCE: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth ; www.ivanhoe.com)

For More Information, Contact:

George Kovacik

Sr. Media Relations Coordinator

The Methodist Hospital, Houston

ggkovacik@tmhs.org