From an interview with
Dr. William C. Jackson
McLeod Vascular Associates
Some people call it vein disease. But more properly, it’s chronic venous disease or venous insufficiency – same thing, different names.
“When blood in the feet and legs has trouble flowing back up through the veins to the heart for oxygen, the results range from tingling to severe pain,” says McLeod Vascular Surgeon Dr. William C. Jackson. “We commonly see it in people of increasing age and obesity. People at risk also include those standing on their feet for long periods of time, such as those with jobs where they stand for 10 or 12 hours a day.”
Men and women can both be affected by this problem, although female patients seem to be predominant.
A person can feel aching, throbbing, heaviness, swelling, itching, tingling, or a burning feeling. At the end of the day, people might see swelling in their feet that improves after a night’s rest. If it’s worse and a continuing problem, people could see darkening of the skin around their ankles, bulging veins in their thighs, calves or on the top of their feet. The most severe form results in thickening or bulging ulcerations of the skin.
Varicose veins trigger discomfort or even wounds. Cosmetic treatments are available for the minor form. It involves an injection with a very tiny needle. We inject the inside of the vein, causing it to scar down and vanish over time.
One of the more common treatments is the minimally invasive radio frequency ablation. It’s an office procedure where we insert a catheter in the leg vein. Heat is used to seal off that vein and reroute blood to a healthier vein.
We can also perform Sclerotherapy, which involves injecting a solution directly into the vein. The solution irritates the lining of the blood vessel, causing it to collapse. We wrap the patient’s leg for 24 hours, followed by the wearing of a compression stocking for a week. We encourage patients to get up and move around to build up their stamina and get them active as soon as possible.