- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Varicose Vein Treatment
Varicose veins affect roughly 50%-55% of American women and 40%-45% of American men, and it is reported that 1 out of 2 people over 50 years of age suffer from some form of the symptoms related to varicose veins. This article provides free information regarding the causes varicose veins, the various varicose vein treatment options available, and the average prices for those treatments.
Most people suffering from varicose veins seek treatment for cosmetic reasons, but varicose veins are often more than just a cosmetic problem. Varicose veins are very painful at times and will itch, sometimes resulting in ulcers in the most extreme cases. In general, most people only relate varicose veins to the legs, but in all actuality they can occur anywhere on the body. Varicose veins are enlarged veins that are no longer preventing blood from flowing in reverse. They can be different colors under the skin like blue, purple, or a pinkish red. Sometimes they are not chronic but related to pregnancy in women when varicose veins form in the birthing region.
Varicose Veins Causes
There are many contributing factors believed to cause varicose veins. Gravity in combination with the pressure of body weight can cause varicose veins to develop. The legs are generally the most common location for the veins because they bear the brunt of the weight of the body, and all the while still the heart must pump blood from the upper part of the body to the lower parts.
Veins are designed with a type of "valve" that only allows blood to travel one direction. When these valves become weak, blood can then flow in reverse, back into these valve veins, causing the vein to swell.
Varicose Vein Symptoms And Stages
Stage C0- At this stage there are no visible signs of the disease. Symptoms at this stage include general aches in the legs and a condition called "heavy legs" that can be noticeably worse at night or worsened by exercise.
Stage C1- Aches in the leg and the first appearance of telangiectasia, sometimes called reticular veins or spider veins, in the legs.
Stage C2 - Varicose veins appear, ankle swelling, a brownish-blue shiny skin discoloration near the affected veins.
Stage C3 - Edema, redness, dryness, and itchiness of areas of skin - termed stasis dermatitis or venous eczema, because of waste products building up in the leg.
Stage C4a - Cramps may develop especially when making a sudden move as standing up, skin changes due to venous disorders: pigmentation, eczema.
Stage C4b- Cramps, skin changes due to venous disorders: lipodermatosclerosis, atrophie blanche.
Stage C5- The area may bleed more than normal and take a longer time to heal. In some people the skin above the ankle may shrink (lipodermatosclerosis) because the fat underneath the skin becomes hard. As C4 but with healed ulcers.
Stage C6- Restless legs syndrome, chronic venous insufficiency, whitened, irregular scar-like patches can appear at the ankles, otherwise known as atrophie blanche. Skin changes with active ulcers.
Non-invasive Varicose Vein Treatment Methods
If you are wondering, "How can i get rid of my varicose veins?", there are several conservative methods for treating Varicose Veins that are available. One of the first options that a physician will have is to treat with prescription medications. Some over the counter medications, like anti-inflammatory medicines ibuprofen and aspirin can even help in treating the varicose veins.
Some other strategies that do not involve any type of surgery include compression stockings, a type of legwear for varicose veins, that can correct the reverse pressure in the blood flow. Also, weight loss and increasing muscle tone have been shown in some studies to help. Compression stockings can be purchased for between $30USD-$50USD per pair and generally can last between 6 months and a year. Obviously the costs for these types of treatment are going to be lower because surgery is not involved.
Non-Surgical Treatment Of Varicose Veins
If some of the more conservative methods are not effective then medical providers will move on to other options. Before jumping right into an open varicose vein surgery, there are a few other options that might be available to a patient. Generally, these treatments are performed by either a Plastic Surgeon or a doctor that specializes in vain care called phlebologists.
Sclerotherapy- This is one of the most common forms of non-surgical varicose veins treatment and for spider veins. It involves an injection of medicine into the veins themselves which in turn causes them to shrink. Sclerotherapy costs can range between $100USD to $400USD per session with your doctor. A patient should plan on two to three sessions per month for at least two months to achieve the desired results.
Endovenous Thermal Ablation - This is a fancy name for Laser treatment of varicose veins and spider veins. Roughly three laser treatments will be required, scheduled at three month intervals, to achieve the desired result. It will generally take between two to six weeks for the veins to fade in color. Laser treatment costs approximately $300USD to $500USD per session depending upon your doctor.
Surgical Treatment Of Varicose Veins
Depending upon the severity of a particular person's case, a physician may decide that open varicose vein surgery is required to treat varicose veins. Some of the surgical procedures are outpatient procedures and minimally invasive.
Vein Stripping- This is a surgical procedure where the trunk of the varicose vein is removed. Minimal scarring is possible as this will require an incision. Costs for this procedure depend on your surgeon, and your insurance, but has been known to cost between $800USD to $1500USD per leg and depending on how severe the case is. Check with your doctor. Patients who receive this varicose veins treatment procedure have a recurrence rate of about 30%-60%.
Vein Ligation- A piece of thread known as a suture is tied around the leaking blood vessel preventing the blood from leaking backwards and swelling the vein. Again the costs for any procedure depend on your doctor, but costs generally range between $800USD and $1,000USD per leg. Patients who receive this procedure have a recurrence rate of about 6%-80%.
Ambulatory Phlebectomy- This is a long way of saying varicose vein removal. This treatment is similar to the vein stripping procedure, but involves removing the entire vein with three small incisions. So scarring can be an issue for this procedure. It is generally performed as an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia. Costs can be upwards of $1000USD per leg. Check with your insurance company and your doctor for their actual costs.
Other Hubpage Sources
- How Varicose Veins Develop And How They Become Painful?
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Varicose Veins Treatment And Spider Veins Video
This video shows basically what causes varicose veins and varicose vein treatment options. It is from the Daily Cafe from Washington D.C.