To understand what causes varicose veins, you have to understand how your veins work. Unlike arteries, which contain muscle tissue to pump blood from the heart, your veins rely on a series of tiny, one-way valves to control the flow of blood back to the heart and the lungs. When the muscles surrounding the veins contract, these valves open to allow blood to flow towards the heart, and then close to prevent it from flowing backwards, back into the veins. One of the most common causes of varicose veins is chronic venous insufficiency, which is a condition in which these valves become diseased or damaged and don't close properly. As a result, the blood flows back into the diseased veins and collects there, causing them to become enlarged and discolored (the blue color comes from the deoxygenated blood pooling in the veins).
So can Winston-Salem residents have these damaged veins fixed?
Not really. Once a vein has become varicose, you can't really reverse the process completely. You can improve circulation and remove some of the pain that often accompanies varicose veins by wearing compression stockings, but this doesn't shrink the swollen veins or return them to their normal color. Similarly, so far no medications have been found that will reverse the damage and return the veins to their healthy state. What can be done is to close the swollen veins, and allow other, healthier veins in the area to take over the work of routing blood back to the heart and lungs.
How do you close the damaged veins, and is it permanent?
A few decades ago there was only one way to remove varicose veins, vein stripping surgery, which was as unpleasant as it sounds. The doctor literally had to make incisions in the skin and then scrape away the damaged veins, often leaving scars that were as unattractive as the varicose veins had been.
Fortunately, vein disease treatment in Winston-Salem has advanced, and those methods have been replaced by modern minimally invasive technologies that do not require incisions or general anesthetic. There are now several options for permanently removing varicose veins, all of which can be performed in the comfort of our Novant Health Vein Specialists offices. Smaller varicose veins and spider veins can be effectively removed using sclerotherapy, in which a sealing agent is injected into the vein to cause the vessel walls to stick to one another and close. Larger varicose veins can be treated using radio-frequency ablation or saphenous vein ablation to close the veins using heat. The catheters used to perform these procedures are smaller than the needle used to give you a flu shot, and no anesthesia is required. After the diseased veins are sealed, they collapse and shrink and are absorbed into the surrounding tissue. Normal blood flow is taken over by surrounding veins.
Although removal of varicose veins by these minimally invasive procedures is permanent, it cannot prevent new varicose veins from appearing. But the Winston-Salem vein experts at NHVS can help to prevent this by giving you diet, exercise, and lifestyle tips to reduce your risk of developing vein disease in the future. So give us a call at 336-245-4890 and schedule an initial consultation with the best vein doctors in Winston-Salem and Kernersville. Let us explain all of the possible options for treating your varicose veins to you. You can also find out more about varicose veins and your particular situation by making an appointment online or calling our offices.