Varicose veins occur when a valve or valves become damaged and do
not function properly, allowing blood to flow backward, toward the
feet. Blood then pools in surface veins which become large, dilated
and tortuous, or varicose veins. If there is enough blood pooling
in these varicose veins, some of it can be pushed into the
surrounding tissue. The tissue can become so saturated with
un-oxygenated blood that it cannot accept oxygenated blood. This
causes tissue breakdown, also known as ulcers.
Deep veins are the major veins in the legs which run deep in the
middle of the leg with an artery. These carry approximately 95% of
the blood flow out of the leg.
Superficial veins run closer to the skin and carry approximately
5% of the blood flow. The two main superficial veins in the legs
are the greater saphenous and lesser saphenous veins. Problems in
these two veins are the most common cause of varicose veins.
THREE MAIN CAUSES OF VENOUS INSUFFICIENCY
Blockage in a vein (blood clot)
Inactive "muscle pump" in the legs
Damage to the valves within the veins.
RISK FACTORS FOR VENOUS DISEASE
For women: pregnancy, childbirth, genetics, obesity,
inactivity, aging and injury.
For men: genetics, injury, obesity, inactivity and aging.
Skin changes can become evident in someone with venous
insufficiency. Stasis refers to the blood not moving. Stasis
changes include brownish discoloration and skin changes in the
lower leg and ulceration. The ulcers can become infected, leading
to an infection in the surrounding tissue, called cellulitis.
An ultrasound study that specifically evaluates how blood is
flowing in the leg veins and tests the integrity of the valves is
done to determine the best treatment options. This test is
non-invasive, with no injections or dyes, and is done at our
outpatient laboratory. It can take up to 90 minutes.
The various treatments we offer all serve the same purpose:
to eliminate the problem veins and the source of the
to help prevent future venous stasis problems, and
to help you and your legs feel better, so that you can lead a
healthy, active lifestyle.
SCLEROTHERAPY involves injecting a medication into the smaller
spider veins using a tiny needle. This medication irritates the
inner wall of the spider veins, causing them to collapse, and
eventually disappear. This procedure takes about 30 minutes and can
be done in several stages. Sclerotherapy can also be done with
ultrasound guidance to improve treatment of larger veins.
Sclerotherapy remains a superior option for treatment of spider
ENDOVENOUS LASER ABLATION, or "laser," is a
minimally invasive procedure which uses a small wire with a laser
tip to close the vein from the inside. The procedure is done in the
office with a local anesthetic, and takes only about an hour.
Results are excellent and there is no lengthy recovery time;
therefore, you should start to see results right away.
VNUS (CLOSURE) uses a small wire with a tip
that delivers radio-frequency energy to the vein wall, sealing it
from the inside. This procedure can be done in the office or
operating room in conjunction with other operative vein procedures.
The VNUS itself is minimally invasive with a very short recovery
AMBULATORY PHLEBECTOMY involves removing
varicose veins through a number of small incisions. This is usually
done in conjunction with the laser procedure. This combination
allows treatment and elimination of the cause of the varicose veins
as well as the varicose veins themselves.
TRIVEX is a surgical technique for varicose
vein removal. Using this technique, a larger number of varicose
veins can be removed, with a smaller number of incisions than with
standard Ambulatory Phlebectomy.
VEIN STRIPPING is an outpatient surgical
technique to remove varicose veins which is performed in the
hospital. Most patients require general or regional anesthesia.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not a
substitute for medical evaluation. We recommend you discuss health
issues with a physician.
Call us today for more information at (509) 928-6454 or email us
Vein Institute Services
Forms and Files
View All Providers
You don't have to be an existing Rockwood patient to see a Rockwood Clinic specialist