Varicose Veins Treatments
Potential Risks of Leaving Varicose or Spider Veins Untreated
Sometimes people get a condition where blood gets trapped in the veins and makes them become distended and appear dark blue. Often people consider this condition, called varicose veins, to be mainly an issue of appearance, especially if the affected veins don't cause other symptoms, such as rashes or aching in the legs. This may cause people to consider leaving the condition untreated. This isn't a good idea, however, as these veins, if not treated, can sometimes lead to other serious problems.
The risks of leaving varicose veins untreated depend in part on the severity of the condition. Those with a relatively minor problem, such as spider veins, may just have to continue to deal with any symptoms they already have, which could include swelling in the legs or the ankles, pain and fatigue. More serious potential issues include getting ulcers in the veins, the breakdown of the skin, blood clots, venous eczema, hyperpigmentation, spontaneous bleeding or sometimes even skin cancer. Vein issues such as this can also lead to a painful condition involving the inflammation of the fat under the skin called lipodermatosclerosis or a potentially deadly condition called deep vein thrombosis. It's important to at the very least get any varicose veins evaluated by a trained professional to determine whether treatment is necessary. People who are obese tend to be more at risk for the complications of this condition, especially those who are relatively immobile or who have blood clotting disorders.
Treatment will depend on the type and severity of the vein issue. Spider veins and relatively small varicose veins can sometimes be treated with a procedure called sclerotherapy, which involves injecting a substance into the veins in question that cause the vein to collapse and be sealed. The initial procedure takes at least 1.5 hours, after which the patient needs to wear compression stockings for days or weeks, depending on the size of the vein. It typically takes a few weeks to a few months for the affected vein to be totally cleared up after sclerotherapy. Larger varicose veins may need surgery, which could involve simply cutting and tying off the vein or it could be totally removed through one or more incisions.
People who get varicose or spider veins are prone to this problem, so simply getting rid of current problem veins won't necessarily be a permanent solution. Approximately 20 percent of people who have surgery then end up having the problem recur in other veins at a future date.