Venous conditions affect many more people worldwide than arterial disease. Our arteries
bring the blood to our arms and legs and the veins carry our blood back to the heart.
Venous conditions affect primarily our legs and can range from serious and potentially
deadly blood clots to the cosmetic problem of spider veins.
When blood clots develop in the deep veins of our legs, they can cause pain and
swelling. If the clots break loose, they can travel through the heart and lodge
in the lungs, causing a potentially fatal condition called pulmonary embolism. Blood
clots can occasionally form spontaneously, but are more likely seen after immobilization,
operations such as orthopedic procedures, or trauma. Immobilization during long
airplane flights has recently been recognized as a cause of DVT.
Proper function of our veins relies on one-way valves inside the veins that work
to keep the blood moving towards the heart. When these valves become leaky, blood
can move back down the leg causing a build up of blood inside of the veins. This
can lead to pressure rise inside of the veins causing swelling, aching, and enlargement
of the surface veins called varicose veins. Compression stockings are the basic
treatment for venous insufficiency. For patients with varicose veins treatment options
also include venous closure, injections or sclerotherapy, and vein removal through
micro punctures call phlebectomy.
Spider veins are fine blue, purple or red vessels close to the surface of the skin.
While they are primarily a cosmetic problem, they usually indicate an underlying
venous problem. Once the underlying venous problem is treated, the spider veins
can be treated with a combination of heat energy such the Vein Gogh device and sclerotherapy.