Veins are blood vessels that carry deoxygenated blood from the tissues back to the right side of the heart to be re-oxygenated. There are superficial veins that run right underneath the skin that function by having one-way valves and there are deep veins that function using a pressure gradient system.

When superficial veins develop dysfunctional valves, we use the term venous insufficiency to describe the situation. Venous insufficiency can be diagnosed with a simple ultrasound of the legs.

Conditions:

Varicose Veins:
Varicose veins are swollen veins that appear in patients who have venous insufficiency. The dysfunctional valves cause the pressure in the superficial veins in the legs to rise and this causes varicose veins to appear.

Spider Veins:
Spider veins are smaller than varicose veins. They are typically red, purple and blue vessels that are visible through the skin and are typically on the legs and feet.

Venous Reflux Disease:
This refers to venous insufficiency.

Symptoms:

Patients that develop venous insufficiency may also develop a variety of symptoms. The symptoms can include but are not limited to pain in the legs, cramping at night, dependent edema, swelling, restless legs, itching of the skin, skin breakdown or venous ulceration. Patients may also experience significant discoloration of their legs, with erythema (increased red discoloration) and/or purple or blue discoloration of the ankles and feet.

Treatments:

Venous Reflux Disease treatment aims to improve venous blood flow by eliminating the dysfunctional veins in the leg. Treating the diseased veins improves overall blood flow and relieves symptoms. For many patients, compression stockings alone may not be enough to relieve the symptoms of venous insufficiency. Closing the diseased vein directs blood to nearby healthy veins.

Venaseal TM is a procedure that treats the dysfunctional superficial veins in the leg with a medical grade adhesive that is directly injected into the dysfunctional vein, allowing that vein to close off, with minimal discomfort to the patient during the procedure. This procedure is done in the office, with minimal local anesthetic. There is no need to wear compression stockings after the procedure. Patients are able to go back to normal activities immediately following the procedure. The veins specialists at Illinois Cardiovascular Specialists are one of the few providers in the area who are now performing this procedure. Patients who have symptomatic venous insufficiency along with abnormal ultrasound results may be good candidates for this procedure. Visit the Medtronic endovenous web site for more details.

Endovenous thermal ablation is a technique that delivers heat through a catheter to close off the targeted diseased vein. Once the diseased vein is ablated, the venous blood circulates through the normal deep veins in the leg. The goals of treatment are to reduce symptoms and reduce the risk of complications from venous disease. Patients who have symptomatic venous insufficiency along with abnormal ultrasound results may be good candidates for this procedure. Visit the Medtronic endovenous web site for more details.

Sclerotherapy is a treatment for varicose veins that involves injecting a chemical agent directly into the varicose vein causing it to collapse and disappear or become much less noticeable cosmetically. The solution is injected directly into the varicose vein using a very small needle. The number of veins injected in one session is variable, depending on the size and location of the veins.