By, Dr. Himanshu Verma, Vascular Surgery
Enlarged and twisted veins are known as Varicose veins. Even though it can occur anywhere, it usually refers to the veins present in the legs. Pairs of leaflet valves are present in the veins which prevent the backward flow of blood (venous reflux or retrograde flow). Blood in the veins are pumped to the heart against the effects of gravity using the leg muscles.
On becoming varicose, the leaflets in the valve do not meet properly, hence rendering the valves useless (valvular incompetence). Due to this, the blood begins to flow backwards and results in enlargement.
Varicose veins mostly occur in the superficial veins of the leg. This is caused due to the legs being subject to physical activities such as standing, running, walking, etc. Apart from being a cosmetic problem, varicose can cause a large amount of pain.
Symptoms of varicose veins include:
- Telangiectasia: Appearance of spider veins in the affected leg
- Stasis Dermatitis: Dryness, Redness and Itchiness
- Swelling of ankles
- Aching in legs
- Abnormal bleeding during minor injuries
- Development of cramps during small movements
- Restless legs syndrome
- Lipodermatosclerosis: Shrinking of skin above the ankle
Treatment can either be surgical or conservative. Conservative methods are common steps that can be easily performed to relieve the pain from the varicose pain.
Surgical procedures include:
- Stripping: Removing or parting the saphenous vein
- Ambulatory Phlebectomy
- Vein Ligation
Non-Surgical treatments include:
- Endovenous thermal ablation