For women with varicose veins, the thought of wearing shorts this summer may be unimaginable. These blue and purple veins are usually not painful, but can cause a significant cosmetic concern.
Fortunately, varicose veins can be managed and, in some cases, eliminated with lifestyle modifications, sclerotherapy, laser treatment, vein ablation, and surgical excision.
Varicose veins occur when damaged valves and gravitational pressure allow blood that should be returning to the heart to flow backwards. As a result, the blood pools in the legs and lower extremities and enlarges veins and thins their walls.
In some cases, patients may also experience leg swelling, aching, or heaviness.
To prevent the development or worsening of varicose veins, patients can make certain lifestyle modifications.
Maintaining a healthy weight reduces pressure on veins, while regular exercise can help build muscle strength and push blood towards the heart.
Additionally, patients should avoid long periods of standing or sitting and take care to elevate their legs whenever possible.
When worn daily, compression stockings can reduce vein distention and swelling of the legs and lower extremities.
Sclerotherapy is an in-office treatment in which the damaged varicose vein is identified and then injected with a liquid solution that helps it collapse.
Potential side effects include bruising, swelling, bleeding, infection, and skin discoloration.
Patients are also required to wear compression stockings for one week post-procedure.
Within three-to-six weeks, the vein becomes very faint or disappears, but some patients may require additional sessions.
During a laser vein treatment, light-based energy is used to heat and destroy varicose veins.
The treatment is non-invasive, and the skin may look slightly red or swollen afterwards.
Endovenous radiofrequency ablation involves inserting a catheter into the varicose vein and applying radiofrequency, which causes it to shrink.
Most patients find this procedure fairly comfortable, and it requires little to no downtime.
Surgical excision, through ligation or stripping, may be necessary for more severe cases of varicose veins.
With ligation, the vein is cut and then tied off. When a varicose vein is stripped, the surgeon makes small incisions in order to remove it.
To learn more about how to get rid of varicose veins, please call the Vein Center of Maryland to schedule an appointment. We are conveniently located in Westminster, Eldersburg, Baltimore, Hunt Valley and Bel Air.
We also service Ellicott City and Columbia in Howard County.