Dr. John Mah, MD, CCFP, Family Physician, discusses What are your Varicose Vein Treatment Options
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Featuring Dr. John Mah, MD, CCFP, Family Physician What are your Varicose Vein Treatment Options Duration: 2 minutes, 59 seconds
Blood in the leg veins is unidirectional flow, flowing from the feet back to the heart. This unidirectional flow is maintained by a series of one-way valves distributed along the venous anatomy.
When the valves are working properly, they open in such a way to allow blood to flow in the up direction back towards the heart. When there is no flow, the valves remain closed and prevent blood from going backward towards the feet.
When these valves become dysfunctional, blood is allowed to flow back towards the feet and to pool in the diseased veins. When this happens, the vein walls become distended and the valves further along in the vein, as well as in other veins towards the feet, become damaged.
The more common risk factor is that are associated with varicose veins include pregnancy, family history, hormonal fluctuations, age, damage to the affected veins, a history of blood clots in the superficial or venous system, inactivity, and obesity.
Common symptoms associated with varicose veins includes achiness and heaviness of lower extremities, tenderness of the involved varicose veins, itchiness of the overlying skin, restless legs, and nocturnal cramping.
If the patient has had prolonged venous insufficiency, other changes in the skin can include eczema, inflammation, induration of the skin, brown hyperpigmentation, and breaks in the skin that eventually will result in ulcerations.
Part of deciding on treatment options requires a thorough history and physical examination beforehand. The current standard of care requires this assessment to include a venous Doppler imaging assessment to delineate the venous anatomy.
This is necessary to determine where the venous reflux begins and to determine what specific areas of the venous anatomy are damaged. Once this information is available, treatment recommendations can then be discussed.
Under treatment recommendations, there are both conservative and definitive treatment options. Conservative treatment options include elevation of the legs, regular exercise to activate the calf muscle pump, which will allow blood to flow in the desired direction, and the regular use of compression stockings.
Definitive treatment options include both non-surgical and surgical options. Non-surgical definitive options include sclerotherapy and endovenous ablation. Definitive surgical options include ligation and stripping of the large veins, and ambulatory phlebectomy of the smaller branch varicosities.
This is a summary of all the available treatment options. The optimal treatment option will be dependent on the patient’s clinical assessment. If you fell you have symptoms of varicose veins, please consult with your family doctor or your local vein doctor.
Presenter: Dr. John Mah, Family Doctor, Kelowna, BC
Local Practitioners: Family Doctor
This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.