Varicose veins are large, twisted blood vessels that appear just below the skin’s surface. These veins may appear anywhere on the body, however, they are most commonly seen in the legs. For most people, these veins are simple a cosmetic issue. Nevertheless, they can be indicative of an underlying circulatory condition.
Why do varicose veins have different colors?
Varicose veins can be a variety of colors, ranging from red-purple to blue-green. This is due to the vein’s depth beneath the skin and the blood’s oxygen saturation. Veins that are relatively deep and less oxygenated appear blue-green in color while veins that are more superficial and highly oxygenated appear more red.
Why do Varicose Veins Occur?
Leg veins work against gravity to pump blood upwards, towards the heart. Normally, the movement of fluid within these veins requires muscle contractions plus valves to prevent the backward flow of blood. Sometimes these valves malfunction, causing blood to collect within the vein. Additionally, as we age, our veins become less elastic, allowing them to stretch.
Treatment Options for Varicose Veins
There are surgical and non-surgical treatments for managing varicose veins. Conservative, non-surgical treatments include leg elevation, wearing compression stockings, and topical medications. Topical creams and gels, such as Varithena (polidocanol) can help to reduce inflammation, itchiness, and pain.
Surgical Treatments for Varicose Vein Removal
High Ligation involves tying off the vein before it joins a deeper vein.
Vein Stripping comes after high ligation. “Stripping,” is a minimally invasive surgery that involves pulling the vein out from under the skin.
Ambulatory Phlebectomy is a microsurgery that involves making 2-3 mm incisions followed by removing the affected vein with a hook.
Endoscopic Vascular Surgery involves cutting a small hole in the vein and inserting a tiny camera into it. A device at the end of the camera is then used to close the vein. This procedure is typically reserved for more severe cases.
Radio or Laser Assisted Procedure is where a small catheter is inserted into the enlarged vein. Next, the catheter is heated with radio-frequency or laser energy. The added heat causes the vein to close shut when the catheter is removed.
Fortunately, most of these procedures can be done in an ambulatory or outpatient setting, without the need for an overnight hospital stay. In summary, there are a plethora of options for tackling varicose veins. Talk to your doctor about which ones might be right for you.