Varicose veins are abnormally enlarged, swollen veins that are visible at the surface of the skin. They may appear dark purple or blue and look twisted, ropey and bulged. Varicose veins develop when veins that are supposed to carry blood towards the heart weaken and leak blood in the wrong direction. This causes blood to pool and veins to bulge.
There are many veins in the lower extremities which interconnect, including a deep and superficial system. Usually, abnormalities in the superficial system cause varicose veins. Normally, one-way valves in the veins of the lower extremities direct blood upwards toward the heart against gravity. When these valves become weak or damaged and don’t close properly, blood may flow backward, which is known as venous insufficiency or venous reflux. When these veins cannot handle the excess blood and the pressure transmitted from the refluxing veins, they engorge and become varicose veins.
Varicose veins are not just a cosmetic concern, but they are also a manifestation of the medical condition known as venous insufficiency. Varicose vein symptoms usually get worse as the day progresses. Symptoms can include but are not limited to leg pain, swelling, throbbing and aching in the legs. Individuals may get some relief by elevating their legs.
Many insurance companies cover varicose vein treatment if the medical condition causes symptoms that limit activities of daily living.
Varicose veins are not always a cosmetic issue. The underlying cause of varicose veins and heavy, painful legs can now be treated in the doctor's office with the VNUS Closure procedure. The VNUS Closure procedure is minimally invasive, offers a fast and mild recovery and is covered by most insurance.