If you’re opting to wear long pants during hot summer months due to embarrassment about varicose veins, a minimally invasive procedure called VNUS closure can help.
Varicose veins — large, raised, swollen blood vessels that twist and turn — can be seen through the skin and usually develop in the legs.
It is estimated that 30 to 60 percent of adults have varicose veins. People tend to develop them as they age, and they are found more often in women.
The causes of varicose veins range from heredity to work-related conditions, obesity and injury.
Arteries carry oxygenated blood away from the center of the body. Veins, which carry that same blood back to the center of the body to be re-oxygenated, have valves inside them that help push blood against the force of gravity. When valves fail, blood pools in the veins causing them to bulge — a condition called reflux.
The two veins in the legs which most often become varicose veins are the great and small saphenous veins. The small saphenous vein runs behind the knee and great saphenous vein runs up the inner thigh. Both are superficial veins, meaning they are close to the surface of the skin.
Some people with varicose veins don’t report pain or discomfort, and for them no treatment is necessary unless, for cosmetic reasons, they prefer to have the veins removed.
Others suffer with discomfort and pain described as aching, cramping, tiredness, restlessness, burning, throbbing, tingling, and heaviness in the legs.
To reduce discomfort, it’s often helpful to elevate legs while sitting, eat a healthier diet, exercise to lose weight, reduce sodium intake to minimize water retention and swelling, and wear support hose to reduce bulging and swelling.
But for those who find little or no relief from such changes, there is VNUS closure — a minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins that uses radiofrequency heat to permanently seal the vein shut.