Veiny Legs? You Have Three Effective Options
Effective treatments available to treat chronic vein conditions
It isn’t vain to want your legs to look and feel their best. Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) vascular surgeons offer comprehensive vein care and customized treatments that will reduce vein-related pain and swelling in your legs while improving the health and appearance of lumpy veins.
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How veins work
Veins carry blood from the body back to the heart. They contain valves that act as one-way flaps to prevent blood from moving backward. “If these valves don’t work properly, blood leaks back into the veins and pools there,” says vascular surgeon James Guzzo, MD, with LVPG Vascular Surgery and Chief, Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
Chronic vein troubles
“When blood pools in leg veins, it can lead to a condition called chronic venous insufficiency or CVI,” says vascular surgeon Eric Wilson, MD, with LVPG Vascular Surgery and Chief, Department of Surgery, Lehigh Valley Hospital–Pocono.
You might be at risk for CVI if you are:
- Middle age or older
- A woman
- Sedentary for long periods – either sitting or standing
Or if you have:
- Family with leg vein problems
- Ever had deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Been pregnant
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Signs of CVI
Symptoms of CVI include varicose veins – swollen, twisted veins close to the skin’s surface. Beyond the cosmetic, CVI can cause leg pain, swelling, heaviness, fatigue or throbbing. Advanced vein disease also can lead to chronic leg wounds.
Do visible veins = CVI?
Varicose veins and spider veins (smaller veins) can appear independent of CVI. “Visible veins aren’t dangerous if they don’t cause symptoms,” Guzzo says. But when they do cause symptoms like aching, throbbing pain, ask your primary care provider if you should see a vein specialist.
“Along with compression stockings, which is the first line of treatment for all patients, LVHN has measures that can treat chronic vein issues and help prevent acute problems from occurring,” Wilson says.
Depending on the type of vein issue present, procedures are done in the office or comfortable outpatient setting, using suitable anesthesia. They can relieve leg pain caused by CVI, and have rapid recovery times:
- Endovenous radiofrequency ablation: A small catheter delivers a targeted pulse of energy that causes the vein to shrink and seal shut. Blood then naturally reroutes to surrounding healthy veins.
- Sclerotherapy: A chemical solution is injected into the vein, causing it to close and eventually be reabsorbed into surrounding tissue.
- Microphlebectomy: Small incisions are made to surgically remove larger veins.
Find a vascular surgeon near you. Visit LVHN.org/doctors or call 888-402-LVHN (5846).