Are varicose veins a cosmetic problem?
While tiny spider veins (telangiectasia) may be a cosmetic problem if they are not associated with pain, varicose veins are NOT just a cosmetic problem. Although some patients with varicose veins may not experience pain, varicose veins will worsen with time. Patients with varicose veins eventually will develop complications which may include tired, heavy legs; swelling of the ankles; infection (cellulitis); clotting (thrombophlebitis); skin changes (stasis dermatitis); venous stasis ulcerations or poorly-healing wounds; pain; or itching. Early detection and treatment of varicose veins may prevent many of these complications.
Might I need my leg veins for future heart surgery?
By the time a saphenous vein is diseased enough to require treatment, it no longer is acceptable for use for a heart bypass procedure. Cardiac surgeons use the radial artery from the forearm or the internal mammary artery (from inside the chest) for the heart bypass.
Should I get vein stripping instead?
Vein stripping rarely is the appropriate technique for management of venous insufficiency. A detailed clinical evaluation and venous color duplex ultrasound exam are necessary to make individual recommendations, but endovenous thermal ablation with radiofrequency (VNUS ClosureFast or Venefit) or with LASER are more effective, safer, result in much less time off work, cause much less discomfort, and are much less costly than vein stripping.
How do I prevent varicose veins?
Treat the major problems as they occur which nearly always can be done with minimally-invasive procedures. Then, maintain a normal body weight, remain physically active with moderate exercise, avoid prolonged sitting or standing when feasible, perform calf muscle pump exercises often when sitting or standing, elevate the legs higher than the heart periodically, and wear elastic compression support hose as routinely as practical.