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Definition

Varicose VeinsVaricose Veins are valvular malfunction causing swollen, twisted, painful veins that have been filled with venous blood.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

In normal veins, valves inside keep blood moving forward toward the heart. With Varicose Veins, the valves do not function properly, allowing blood to go backward. Pooling of blood in a vein causes it to enlarge.

This process usually occurs in the legs, although it may occur elsewhere. Varicose veins are common, affecting mostly women.

Causes include congenitally defective valves, thrombophlebitis, and pregnancy. Prolonged standing and increased pressure within the abdomen may increase the development of varicose veins or aggravate the condition.

Varicose LegsSymptoms

- Pain in the legs: fullness, heaviness, aching

- Visible, enlarged veins

- Mild swelling of ankles

- Skin at the ankle discolored brown

- For serious cases, skin ulcers occurred near the ankle

Treatment

Treatment is usually conservative. The patient will be asked to avoid excess standing, elevate the legs when resting or sleeping, and to wear elastic support hose. Surgery such as vein stripping and ligation (removal of the varicose vein), or sclerotherapy of veins (injecting with a solution that causes scarring, which closes the vein) may be recommended. Vein stripping is a very extensive procedure, and it is usually reserved for patients who are experiencing a lot of pain or who have skin ulcers.

Noninvasive treatment: Intense Pulsed Light or Ruby Laser

Treatment with Intense Pulsed Light is unique as it destroys unsightly blood vessels by sending very short pulses of light into the skin, destroying the vein using heat. The treatment is fast, with no anaesthesia required. All area of the body can be treated on a monthly basis. During treatment, only a moderate heat sensation is felt. Sensations vary but most describe it as a very quick hot pin prick feeling. With each treatment the number of visible vessels decline, leading to complete removal in a course of four treatments or more, depending on severity.

Camouflage Cosmetic

Camouflage cosmetic can be an alternate and effective option. It can cover varicose veins & spider veins (cluster of veins that form tiny spider patterns just beneath the skin). Current products are developed as water proof, sun protective, long lasting camouflage cosmetics that are easy to apply.

Expectations (prognosis)

Varicose veins tend to worsen over time. Discomfort and progression may be lessened with self care.

Complications includes:

- Phlebitis (chronic inflammation of the vein)

- Formation of leg ulcers

- Rupture of a varicose vein