Varicose Veins

Varicose Veins

Last Reviewed : 12/29/2020
Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are veins that have become enlarged and twisted. The term commonly refers to the veins on the leg, although varicose veins can occur elsewhere. Veins have pairs of leaflet valves to prevent blood from flowing backwards (retrograde flow or venous reflux). Leg muscles pump the veins to return blood to the heart (the skeletal-muscle pump), against the effects of gravity. When veins become varicose, the leaflets of the valves no longer meet properly, and the valves do not work (valvular incompetence). This allows blood to flow backwards and they enlarge even more. Varicose veins are most common in the superficial veins of the legs, which are subject to high pressure when standing. Besides being a cosmetic problem, varicose veins can be painful, especially when standing. Severe long-standing varicose veins can lead to leg swelling, venous eczema, skin thickening (lipodermatosclerosis) and ulceration. Life-threatening complications are uncommon, but varicose veins may be confused with deep vein thrombosis, which may be life-threatening.

Non-surgical treatments include sclerotherapy, elastic stockings, leg elevation and exercise. The traditional surgical treatment has been vein stripping to remove the affected veins. Newer, less invasive treatments which seal the main leaking vein are available. Alternative techniques, such as ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy, radiofrequency ablation and endovenous laser treatment, are available as well. Because most of the blood in the legs is returned by the deep veins, the superficial veins, which return only about 10% of the total blood of the legs, can usually be removed or ablated without serious harm.

Secondary varicose veins are those developing as collateral pathways, typically after stenosis or occlusion of the deep veins, a common sequel of extensive deep venous thrombosis (DVT). Treatment options are usually support stockings, occasionally sclerotherapy and rarely, limited surgery.

Varicose veins are distinguished from reticular veins (blue veins) and telangiectasias (spider veins), which also involve valvular insufficiency, by the size and location of the veins. Many patients who suffer with varicose veins seek out the assistance of physicians who specialize in vein care or peripheral vascular disease. These physicians include vascular surgeons, phlebologists or interventional radiologists.

We researched this topic for you and found the following best online resources. They are categorized into basic, advanced, and research level based on the extent of information you need. You will be taken to the respective websites by pressing on the links below.



Basic information: health service executive varicose veins emedicine health varicose veins mayoclinic varicose veins overview medicine varicose veins and spider veins web md varicose veins - topic overview nhs uk varicose veins health line varicose veins msd manuals (professional version) varicose veins,p08259/ hopkins medicine varicose veins bupa varicose veins kids health varicose veins health link bc varicose veins: should i have a surgical procedure? cleveland clinic varicose and spider veins university of maryland varicose veins better health varicose veins and spider veins health direct varicose veins health harvard varicose veins


Advanced information: radiology info varicose vein treatment (endovenous ablation of varicose veins) womens varicose veins medscape varicose veins and spider veins society of interventional varicose veins medline plus varicose veins patient varicose veins medical news today varicose veins: causes, diagnosis and treatments dermnet nz leg vein therapies varicose veins:natural history, assessment and management volume 42, no.6, june 2013 pages 380-384 southern cross medical library varicose veins - signs, symptoms, causes, treatment fortis varicose veins aetna varicose veins news experts discuss innovative, non-surgical approaches to treat varicose veins



kumar r s, gopinath m. a rare cause of foot drop after radiofrequency ablation for varicose veins: case report and review of the literature. neurol india [serial online] 2010 [cited 2016 jun 22];58:303-5. available from:

lawson, a., rischbieter, p., owen, j., peedikayil, t., beningfield, s.. multi-detector computer tomography venography (mdctv) as a diagnostic tool in the management of patients with atypical, complicated and/or recurrent varicose veins. south african journal of radiology, 16, nov. 2012. available at: <>. date accessed: 22 jun. 2016. varicose veins by gregory piazza, md, ms circulation.2014; 130: e59-e61doi: 10.1161/circulationaha.113.008333 the care of patients with varicose veins and associated chronic venous diseases: clinical practice guidelines of the society for vascular surgery and the american venous forum by peter gloviczki, md et al., journal of vascular surgery volume 53, number 16s doi:10.1016/j.jvs.2011.01.079


Related topics: home remedies for varicose veins


Related videos: varicose veins: an animation exercises for sufferers of varicose veins varicose vein laser treatment video for patients awesome video showing varicose vein removal varicose vein treatment radiofrequency ablation varicose vein laser


Presentations/quiz/newspaper articles: all you need to know about the health condition called varicose veins the everyday ailment causing deadly blood clots – are you suffering from varicose veins? revealed... the 6 surprising places varicose veins can appear - other than your legs

read more: varicose veins, leg pain may indicate more serious health problem fit & proper: early treatment is key to curing varicose veins 6 myths about varicose veins can varicose veins be sealed without heat?


Please leave your comments:

Related Articles