What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged or dilated veins, typically found in the legs. Varicosities occur when the valves in the superficial veins malfunction, causing blood that should be moving toward the heart to move backwards. This backward flow of blood is known as venous reflux. As the blood moves backwards and pools in the vein, the pressure pushes at the veins walls, eventually stretching out the vein, giving it the rope-like, twisted appearance associated with varicose veins.
Aside from the visible symptoms, the complications of varicose veins can cause leg pain, heaviness, swelling, numbness and tingling. If left untreated, they can progress and lead to serious medical problems including inflammation, blood clots, bleeding and ulcers.
What are Spider Veins?
Telangiectasias, or more commonly known as spider veins, are red, blue or purple web-like veins found close to the skin’s surface. While the cause of spider veins is unknown, the development of spider veins has been attributed to prolonged standing or sitting, weight gain, pregnancy, heredity and hormones.
The symptoms of spider veins include aching, burning and itching in the affected area. Prolonged standing has been known to cause significant discomfort in the vein. Though spider veins do not pose a health risk, they can be painful and are thought to be unsightly.
Varicose Vein Examination Process
The Initial Screening
At the initial screening, you’re physician will examine the affected leg(s) to determine if you have spider veins or are a possible candidate for varicose vein treatment. We will discuss your symptoms, history, and treatment plan. This appointment generally takes between 15-20 minutes.
The first step in the evaluation of varicose veins is a diagnostic ultrasound. The study examines the superficial veins responsible for the development of varicosities and evaluates for reflux. The ultrasound also provides a map for treatment.