There are little valves in the veins that help push the blood back to the heart. When these valves become weak, there is excess blood that pools in the veins causing venous insufficiency or varicose veins. When this happens, it may take time to become obvious.
If you feel some of these symptoms, you may be starting to develop varicose veins:
• Swelling in the feet and ankles
• Heavy, throbbing or aching legs
• Cramping in the legs
• Itching around the ankle and lower part of the leg
• Discolored skin
If not treated, varicose veins can lead to other conditions such as superficial thrombophlebitis, which is a blood clot in the vein and dermatitis, an itchy rash that may develop sores if irritated or scratched. One of the best treatments for varicose veins that we offer is radiofrequency ablation.
Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive treatment used by our technicians to damage the affected vein and create scar tissue. The scar tissue will close the vein, which will gradually be absorbed by the body. The other veins in your leg are equipped to carry the excess blood to the heart.
The technician treats the vein by making a tiny incision in the vein and inserting a thin tube or catheter into the vein. According to your general health and desire we’ll use a local anesthesia or a mild sedative. Recovery time after the treatment is short and you’ll be able to walk immediately.
Our doctor will ask you to wear compression stockings for one week or more and after some time, will check the area with ultrasound to make sure the vein is closed.
Radiofrequency ablation is an effective alternative to vein-stripping surgery. There is evidence that radiofrequency closure works in about 97 people out of 100. The pain is less than vein-stripping surgery. After two years, the large majority of patients have results as good as surgical patients. There is a very small chance the vein will not close. If this happens, it can be treated again, or we can use another procedure.
Varicose veins can be hereditary. This means if your parents or grandparents had weak valves in their veins you may also have them. Some other causes are:
• Hereditary chronic heart valve conditions
• Long periods of standing
• Pressure on the abdomen
• Obesity that increases pressure on the legs
There are ways to avoid developing varicose veins if you are not genetically predisposed to get them. If you maintain a healthy weight, exercise to improve the strength in your legs and don’t stand for prolonged periods, the risk of developing varicose veins greatly reduces.
If you already have varicose veins, you can take some steps to avoid getting more such as elevating your legs when you are resting and wearing compression stockings during the day. These will help the blood reach your heart.
Radiofrequency ablation is a safe and effective way to remove varicose veins permanently. If you believe you may be developing varicose veins or already have one or two, we can remove them and help you avoid developing more. Contact South Texas Vein Institute today to schedule an appointment.