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Varicose Veins - Know All About Them!

Written and reviewed by
MBBS ,MD ,DNB (Radiodiagnosis), Fellowship In Interventional Radiology
Radiologist, Mumbai  •  10years experience
Varicose Veins - Know All About Them!

Varicose veins are abnormal veins that usually appear as bulging, twisting, rope-like cords in the lower extremity. It is a very common condition, nearly affecting 25% of men and 40% women. Varicose veins occur when the valves in the veins do not properly function. As a result, blood cannot flow effectively.

Risk Factors

A number of factors can put you at risk of developing varicose veins. These may include –

• Heredity
• Gender
• Age
• Prolonged standing

Symptoms Associated with Varicose Veins

For many people, varicose veins develop without revealing any symptom. However, others may experience the following signs –

• Visible purple veins
• Heaviness in the calves
Swelling and tenderness
• Leg tiredness
• Blood clots

If the condition deteriorates, you may also encounter symptoms like –

• Ankle sores
• Skin ulcers

If you have a severe case, your veins may rupture. Therefore, consult a doctor and get the condition treated before it worsens.

Treating Varicose Veins with Radiology

If conservative techniques – compression stockings, lifestyle changes, and others – fail to relive the symptoms or cure the condition, your doctor may recommend radiofrequency ablation for varicose veins.
Radiofrequency ablation involves using heat from an electric current produced by a radio wave to remove the damaged tissues. The procedure takes place in a hospital or a clinic under the supervision of a radiologist.
The specialist will first prep you up for the procedure – the appropriate leg will be prepared using sterile technique and you will be given local anaesthesia. Ablating the veins using laser takes only about a few minutes. Once the procedure is completed, the patient may be kept under observation briefly before being let off. However, he/she might have to wear a special compression stocking, as prescribed by the doctor, to speed up healing.

Varicose veins typically deteriorate over time despite making necessary lifestyle changes for pain management. The minimally invasive radiofrequency ablation procedure is an effective treatment for a condition as painful as varicose veins. It is safer than surgery with minimal risks. Since it is an outpatient procedure, the patient is allowed to walk away the same day.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!
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