We asked Vascular Surgeon, C. Phifer Nicholson, MD to explain the importance of having varicose veins evaluated and treated.
If you are living with bulging or discolored leg veins, it’s important to have them evaluated and treated. But this isn't a matter of vanity, they can be dangerous. As a vascular surgeon, I see patients with all types of vein conditions. The two most common leg problems are spider veins and varicose veins.
Let’s look at each condition, and why it is important to have them checked out.
You can recognize these thin veins by their bluish or reddish color and web-like shape. They are typically two millimeters or less in diameter, usually are not painful and rarely cause complications. Occasionally, they may bleed. Spider veins are easily corrected and there are several treatment options, including injection therapy and laser treatment.
Varicose veins are another story. They are bulging, unsightly leg veins which are usually more than three millimeters in diameter. If you have any symptoms, you should have your legs evaluated by a vein expert. These symptoms include: leg pain or cramping, swelling in the leg or ankle or a heavy feeling or fatigue in the legs.
If symptomatic varicose veins are left untreated, they can lead to serious complications, including rashes, infections, bleeding, sores and blood clots. If your leg is already swollen, your complications may be more severe.
The good news is that there are several minimally invasive treatments for varicose veins. Discomfort after treatment is minimal and most patients see immediate relief of symptoms with little downtime. My patients usually tell me that they wished they had had the procedure performed much earlier.