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Vascular Surgery - Varicose Veins

The venous system is composed of a large network of vessels throughout the body that carry blood back to the heart. Inside the veins are tiny one way valves that prevent blood from pooling in the legs and arms.

Varicose vein are dilated veins that develop when the tiny valves are destroyed. The non-working valves allow the blood to pool in the legs causing the blood to leak out of the vessels and into the surrounding tissue including the skin.

Approximately 25% of the population suffers from this condition.

Cause:

Varicose veins develop when the pressure in the legs is increased. People that stand on their feet for long periods of time and overweight people are especially at risk for developing varicose veins. Other factors include age, family history, and pregnancy.

Diagnosis:

The diagnosis of varicose veins is usually made by a physical exam and a history. Additionally an ultrasound test is used to give more detail about the anatomy and location of the veins.

Symptoms:

Patients suffering from varicose veins may notice soft budges in the legs usually behind the calves or inner thighs. The surrounding skin may have a bluish discoloration.  The legs often become painful and swollen with a tired cramping feeling.

Treatment:

Varicose veins are initially treated with leg elevation, exercise, and support stockings. If these measure fail the varicose veins can be removed by small incisions or by a minimally invasive approach using a special laser. 

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