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A Chemical Is Injected Into Your Damaged Vein To Close It Off

Mar 20

The body’s blood vessels are a vital part of the circulatory system, carrying oxygenated blood from your heart to various parts of your body and deoxygenated blood back to the heart. Blood is carried in two types of blood vessels, arteries and veins. If your veins become damaged, a condition called chronic venous insufficiency can develop, with resulting symptoms such as varicose veins, spider veins and deep vein thrombophlebitis.

Symptoms of damaged veins in legs include pain or a feeling of heaviness in your legs that gets worse after long periods of standing or sitting, and is relieved by elevating your feet or wearing compression stockings. Some people also experience a change in the color or texture of their skin, most often around the ankles.

You can treat many of the symptoms of damaged veins through lifestyle changes, medication or surgery, depending on what is causing your symptoms. The most common cause of vein damage is a problem with the one-way valves in your veins, which don’t close properly and allow blood to flow backwards into your leg veins and pool in them. This condition, called varicose veins, or venous disease, can lead to blood clots, edema (swelling), and skin discoloration and ulcers around the ankles.

Some risk factors for varicose veins include aging, heredity, and a sedentary lifestyle. Women are more prone to developing varicose veins than men because hormones can relax the walls of the veins, especially before a menstrual period or during pregnancy. Other risk factors include long-term use of birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, a high-stress job, and being overweight.

If you suspect you have a venous disease, the first thing your doctor will do is review your medical history and do a physical exam. They will probably recommend a Doppler ultrasound test to get more information about your blood flow through your veins. They may also inject a liquid contrast into your vein to highlight your varicose veins.

The most effective treatments for reducing your discomfort and improving the appearance of your varicose and spider veins are nonsurgical and minimally invasive. These treatments can include elevating your legs at night to prevent blood from pooling, avoiding scratching itchy areas above varicose veins, and wearing compression stockings.

Other effective treatment options for varicose and spider veins include:

In a procedure called sclerotherapy, a chemical is injected into your damaged vein to close it off. This will force your body to find new ways to return blood to the heart through other healthy veins, and eventually dissolve your damaged ones. Surgery is an option for more advanced cases of venous disease. These procedures are usually done on an outpatient basis and can include ligation and stripping, where a vascular surgeon makes small incisions and removes the problem veins using a phlebectomy hook; or bypass surgery, where a piece of healthy vein is transplanted to reroute blood flow around a damaged vein.