Help for Varicose Veins

If you have varicose veins, you may feel a little uncomfortable about showing off your legs. You may also feel pain, discomfort and swelling along with tired and achy legs. It is a myth that varicose veins are a problem only women will have; men can suffer from varicose veins as well, according to Dr. Leonard Galler MD, Board Certified General Surgeon with Shore Physicians Group and Chairman of the Dept. of Surgery at Shore Medical Center.

How veins work
The body has what amounts to a system of conduits or tubes that allow for oxygen-rich blood to flow from the heart throughout the body. The blood flows from the heart via arteries and the oxygen depleted blood is carried back to the heart to be reoxygenated through veins. The veins work efficiently by utilizing a series of valves that keep the blood moving. According to Dr. Galler, when those valves do not perform the job they were designed for, blood may leak back. This can weaken the vein walls, cause veins to bulge and may result in swelling or even blood pooling in the lower extremities, according to Dr. Galler. He advised that anti-inflammatory drugs along with other medications may be given to the patient to help reduce the swelling, inflammation and pain.

How varicose veins normally develop
Dr. Galler explained that in the legs soft vessels with minimal muscle can collapse over time. “The veins can get dilated,” said Dr. Galler. “There can be a number of other reasons for the veins to dysfunction and lead to the development of varicose veins. There could be a genetic predisposition to varicose vein development. Galler indicated that if parents have varicose veins, their offspring is likely to manifest varicose veins in their lifetimes. There could be damage to the deep system of veins from trauma or surgery that can lead to vein dysfunction. Often after a blood clot, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), varicose veins can develop because of physiological changes.

Contributing factors for some patients can be obesity, pregnancy, chronic straining and constipation.

Cosmetics and Symptomatic
“Most patients do not like how varicose veins look and seek solutions for cosmetic reasons. Many patients have symptomatic varicose veins. They complain of aching legs that are often accompanied by swelling, burning and itching symptoms which can be severe enough to seek help. There are also patients who have developed severe swelling and edema with ulcers who need surgical care. These patients are at risk for infections and significant morbidity. Dr. Galler added that there are multiple recommendations that can be offered from a vascular surgeon to help all these patients regain quality of life.

Important first steps
Dr. Galler explained the importance of finding the causes of the varicose veins by ultrasound studies to determine vein anatomy and functionality. The ultrasound will determine blood clots and reflux from the values which will guide treatment.

Compression stockings are the first line of treatment and often advised by surgeons. Dr. Galler said the compression stockings will help with the swelling by compressing the dilated veins, removing the pressure gradient and reducing weeping of fluid from the veins. Using the stockings along with medication to help with the swelling is beneficial to many patients.

Treating Symptoms of Varicose Veins and Spider Veins
Dr. Galler explained that there are several procedures that he performs frequently and that have proven to be very beneficial to his patients. These range from sclerotherapy of veins and spiders veins, laser ablation of veins and sealing of incompetent superficial veins with radiofrequency energy, and surgical removal of veins with minimal invasive techniques. Each of the procedures have their roles with benefits.

Help Yourself
There are a number of things someone suffering with varicose veins can do to gain relief of symptoms and help with cosmesis. If simple maneuvers such as exercise, weight reduction and support hose is not effective, it is then best to discuss options with a vascular surgeon such as Dr. Galler who would perform a full evaluation and direct a treatment plan.
To learn more about what might be the best course of action to help with varicose veins, spider veins, and more or to make an appointment with Dr. Leonard Galler call 609-927-8550.