Posts Tagged ‘varicose veins’

Why Do I Have Varicose Veins and What Can I Do About It?

Live Chat Q&A: Varicose Veins Thanks to those of you who joined us on Tuesday, April 4th for our live online chat “Why do I have varicose veins and what can I do about it?” hosted by Dr. Mark Rheudasil from the Emory Vein Center.

Dr. Rheudasil provided valuable insights on the causes of varicose veins including contributing factors like heredity and pregnancy, the treatment options available for varicose veins and spider veins, and lifestyle changes that can help minimize discomfort from varicose veins.

The live chat had a good turnout and is now available online.

Varicose Veins Q&A

Apr 4 2017, 11:57 AM
EmoryHealthcare: We are starting the live chat in 4 min Are you, guys, ready with your questions?

Apr 4 2017, 12:00 PM
EmoryHealthcare: Welcome, everyone! Thanks for joining us today for our web chat “Why do I have varicose veins and what can I do about it?” with Dr. Rheudasil of Emory Vein Center.

Apr 4 2017, 12:00 PM
EmoryHealthcare: Dr. Rheudasil is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery and the American Venous Forum. He is also a member the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery and is a past President of the Georgia Vascular Society and the Atlanta Vascular Society.

Apr 4 2017, 12:01 PM
EmoryHealthcare: We’ll get started in just a minute. Dr. Rheudasil is here to answer all of your questions! Ask away

Apr 4 2017, 12:01 PM
EmoryHealthcare: Please note that all questions are moderated before appearing in the stream, so you may not see yours appear right away, just give it a moment Dr. Rheudasil is answering every question live right now. By the way, have you already shared our live chat with your friends on Facebook and Twitter? Invite them to join now The more the merrier

Apr 4 2017, 12:02 PM
EmoryHealthcare: We received some questions that were submitted in advance through our website and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/emoryhealthcare/ so we’ll get started by answering a few of those first.

Apr 4 2017, 12:03 PM
EmoryHealthcare: Freida asked: “If I have a surgery, will the veins return and will I have to take time off work?”

Apr 4 2017, 12:03 PM
EmoryHealthcare: Dr. Rheudasil’s answer: “Dear Freida, it is possible for new or recurrent veins to occur following vein treatment. These veins are usually less severe but may require additional treatment. Our treatment plans typically can take up to 6 six months to complete. The treatment plans will involve the primary vein ablation procedure followed by 1 or more sclerotherapy sessions. After the initial treatment, we will be evaluating your legs and determining if additional sclerotherapy is needed along the way.

Apr 4 2017, 12:04 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @Freida, over time, your veins will begin to improve. Typically, patients are able to return to work the following day after their ablation procedure. There is no time away from work when you are having sclerotherapy.

Apr 4 2017, 12:05 PM
EmoryHealthcare: Julie asked: “Should I wait until I lose weight to have spider veins removed? Or will having it done prevent them from getting worse? Difference in going to a “Vein-R-Us” type place to have this done and going to an Emory doc?”

Apr 4 2017, 12:05 PM
EmoryHealthcare: Dr. Rheudasil’s answer: “Dear Julie, weight loss will help with vein treatment since any additional weight will cause an increase in pressure in the legs causing the vein to bulge abnormally. Generally, I would recommend veins be treated prior to weight loss to address the current problem and to alleviate future worsening.

Apr 4 2017, 12:06 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @Julie, the difference between a Vein-R-Us facility & the Emory Vein Center is that any physician can be employed to perform these procedures at those types of places, that means a dermatologist, an anesthesiologist, OBGYN primary care, etc can perform procedures on your veins. At the Emory Vein Center, only certified vascular surgeons who are trained in venous disorders are evaluating and treating your veins based on their expertise and training.

Apr 4 2017, 12:07 PM
EmoryHealthcare: Jean asked: “I used to be VERY heavy.
Over 8 years of losing & keeping the weight off – I have spider veins & some varicose I suspect – pinch & burn & hurt now and then.
Never had that issue when I was heavy. Is this unusual?”

Apr 4 2017, 12:08 PM
EmoryHealthcare: Dr. Rheudasil’s answer is coming but we also want to encourage YOU to ask your questions here What’s on your mind today about the topic?

Apr 4 2017, 12:09 PM
EmoryHealthcare: Dr. Rheudasil’s answer: “Dear Jean, these veins may not have much to do with your weight changes”

Apr 4 2017, 12:10 PM
Guest1023 (Guest): Mainly the left lower leg – with spider veins at ankles n top of feet on both / Jean

Apr 4 2017, 12:11 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @Jean, did we answer your question? Thanks for details.

Apr 4 2017, 12:12 PM
EmoryHealthcare: Amanda asked: “Does pregnancy increase varicose veins?”

Apr 4 2017, 12:12 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @Amanda, the answer is on its way

Apr 4 2017, 12:13 PM
Guest1023 (Guest): Yes – I’m the jean who submitted the one you just answered.

Apr 4 2017, 12:13 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @Jean, we know it Glad to help

Apr 4 2017, 12:13 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @Amanda, here’s Dr. Rheudasil’s answer for you: “Dear Amanda, yes, pregnancy is a common risk factor for varicose veins and will almost always make pre-existing veins worse. Just like any weight gain, you’re adding additional pressure to the legs, which increases pressure on the valves in the veins and that in turn can cause the valves to malfunction causing venous insufficiency.”

Apr 4 2017, 12:14 PM
Guest1037 (Guest): Do you have to do the vein mapping first? Standing in place for 45 minutes is difficult and made me sick. I did not use that clinic as they could not answer questions I was asking

Apr 4 2017, 12:15 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @Guest1037, great question! Dr. Rheudasil’s answer is on its way

Apr 4 2017, 12:15 PM
EmoryHealthcare: Have you, guys, checked out Dr. Rheudasil’s online profile at https://www.emoryhealthcare.org/physicians/r/rheudasil-j-mark.html

Apr 4 2017, 12:17 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @Guest1037, most studies can be performed without the patient needing to stand. Our vascular lab uses the reversed Trendelenburg position for the venous testing which means they put the patient in a foot down position for the majority of the examination. Depending on your clinical evaluation with the physician, you may not need ultrasound testing. For example, spider veins alone may not require diagnostic testing. Each treatment plan is individualized to meet each patient’s need.

Apr 4 2017, 12:18 PM
Guest1319 (Guest): It’s hard for me to get to Clifton Rd. can I receive treatment at any other Emory locations?

Apr 4 2017, 12:20 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @Guest1319, absolutely!

Apr 4 2017, 12:21 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @Guest1319, the Emory physicians provide vein treatment at many other locations. We see patients on the Emory Saint Joseph’s campus as well as have offices in Roswell, Johns Creek and Buckhead. You can call our office at 404-778-VEIN to speak with our call center agents and they can assist you with an appointment at the location of your choice.

Apr 4 2017, 12:22 PM
Mark97 (Guest): Is the process or treatments to get varicose veins removed the same for men? I’d like to have this done.

Apr 4 2017, 12:23 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @Mark97, yes, the evaluation and treatment for varicose veins is exactly the same for males as it is for females.

Apr 4 2017, 12:25 PM
EmoryHealthcare: Jeannine asked: “My mom has varicose veins. Does that mean I will too?”

Apr 4 2017, 12:26 PM
EmoryHealthcare: Dr. Rheudasil’s answer: “Dear Jeannine, no, but heredity is a common risk factor and you will have a higher likelihood of varicose veins than the general population.”

Apr 4 2017, 12:26 PM
michasims (Guest): How painful is sclerotherapy? Mild or scream your head off painful?

Apr 4 2017, 12:26 PM
Guest1037 (Guest): Is this procedure painful?

Apr 4 2017, 12:28 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @michasims and @Guest1037, here’s Dr. Rheudasil’s answer for you: “It has been almost 3 weeks since I have had a patient run screaming out of the room. Just kidding! Sclerotherapy involves multiple needle sticks that are described sometimes as a mosquito bite. We also have numbing cream available for patients to purchase who are extra sensitive. “

Apr 4 2017, 12:29 PM
EmoryHealthcare: Jacqueline asked “Can you remove swollen veins that show?”

Apr 4 2017, 12:30 PM
EmoryHealthcare: Dr. Rheudasil’s answer: “Dear Jacqueline, yes, treatment will often require closing or removing large veins. Venous ablation is our primary procedure that is performed to close the abnormal vein. You can see some before and after pictures here: https://www.emoryhealthcare.org/centers-programs/vein-center/treatments.html

Apr 4 2017, 12:30 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @Jacqueline, after the first treatment, we will need to evaluate how your vessel reacts. There is a possibility that the vein will not close in all desired locations. However, that is why we follow up with sclerotherapy to close the remaining vessels, which you can also read about on that page I just shared with you.

Apr 4 2017, 12:30 PM
Guest5075 (Guest): Can I be treated the same day or will I need to come back?

Apr 4 2017, 12:33 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @Guest5075, the answer is on its way right now.

Apr 4 2017, 12:34 PM
EmoryHealthcare: You all are asking great questions! Remember to invite your friends to join the live chat, so we can also help answer their questions. We have 26 minutes together still So, invite them

Apr 4 2017, 12:35 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @Guest5075, the process will start with an evaluation with the physician. During this time your medical history will be discussed as well as getting an understanding of your venous concerns and what your expectations are. In most cases, an ultrasound is needed to develop a treatment plan and insurance approval for vein treatment often takes several weeks. Vein treatment is a process that often requires a number of vein visits over time.

Apr 4 2017, 12:36 PM
EmoryHealthcare: Susan asked “I have spider veins after chemo and radiation treatment. Can you help?”

Apr 4 2017, 12:36 PM
EmoryHealthcare: Dr. Rheudasil’s answer: “Dear Susan, yes, absolutely we can treat spider veins with injection sclerotherapy. The fact that these vessels occurred after chemotherapy will not change or affect the treatment plan.”

Apr 4 2017, 12:36 PM
EmoryHealthcare: Nancy asked “Does weight play a role in addition to heredity?”

Apr 4 2017, 12:36 PM
EmoryHealthcare: Dr. Rheudasil’s answer: “Dear Nancy, yes, being overweight is a risk factor for varicose veins, as is a family history.”

Apr 4 2017, 12:37 PM
Guest1037 (Guest): Where does blood go after vein is removed?

Apr 4 2017, 12:38 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @Guest1037, the blood is redirected into other veins. Does this help answer your question?

Apr 4 2017, 12:38 PM
gigi (Guest): hi there! i’m scheduled to have my spider veins treated next week and am flying to dubai 2 days later. is it safe to fly?

Apr 4 2017, 12:38 PM
Guest1037 (Guest): Does initial cost include follow ups?

Apr 4 2017, 12:39 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @GiGi, here’s Dr. Rheudasil’s answer for you: “Hi Gigi! I would reschedule one of those appointments! Air travel is generally prohibited 7-10 days after vein treatment. This recommendation is to reduce the potential risk of clot formation”

Apr 4 2017, 12:42 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @Guest1037, unfortunately, no. Each visit / treatment will involve a separate charge. However; treatments are often covered by your insurance.

Apr 4 2017, 12:43 PM
EmoryHealthcare: Busch asked “What happens to blood that goes thru veins destroyed?”

Apr 4 2017, 12:43 PM
EmoryHealthcare: Dr. Rheudasil’s answer: “Dear Busch, the body is amazing, your blood will reroute into other veins by taking the path of least resistance.”

Apr 4 2017, 12:45 PM
EmoryHealthcare: These questions have been great, guys! We have time now for just 2-3 more question. Any remaining questions will be answered by Dr. Rheudasil in the post-chat Q&A.

Apr 4 2017, 12:46 PM
Guest1037 (Guest): I have so many veins was a bit nervous that I would have issues removing

Apr 4 2017, 12:46 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @Guest1037, what issues are you afraid of?

Apr 4 2017, 12:47 PM
gigi (Guest): this has been very informative. thanks Emory!

Apr 4 2017, 12:48 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @GiGi, you’re welcome!

Apr 4 2017, 12:48 PM
Guest4028 (Guest): Should I wait until I have lost weight to have my spider veins removed? Or will removing them now prevent new spider veins from being created, or worsening?

Apr 4 2017, 12:48 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @Guest4028, here’s Dr. Rheudasil’s answer for you: “We recommend treating spider veins when they are bothersome enough to the patient. Weight loss is not necessary to begin treatment. Unfortunately, spider vein treatment does not reduce the risk of future spider vein formation.”

Apr 4 2017, 12:49 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @Guest1037, BTW, extensive vein treatment is quite common and you will not “run out of veins

Apr 4 2017, 12:50 PM
EmoryHealthcare: We have 10 min left

Apr 4 2017, 12:51 PM
EmoryHealthcare: Your questions have been wonderful, thank you for your engagement. We want to hear 2 last questions. As away!

Apr 4 2017, 12:51 PM
Guest4028 (Guest): Do spider veins grow up to become varicose veins, or are they two different problems?

Apr 4 2017, 12:52 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @Guest4028, the answer for you is on its way Thanks for the great question!

Apr 4 2017, 12:53 PM
EmoryHealthcare: We can probably take 1 more question now. As away!

Apr 4 2017, 12:54 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @Guest4028, here’s Dr. Rheudasil’s answer for you: “Dear Guest4028, no, spider veins never grow up, they are two separate conditions. Many patients have a combination of both spider and varicose veins. Spider veins are small thread-like veins that are a cosmetic problem only and varicose veins are larger veins that protrude from the skins service and are more likely to cause symptoms”

Apr 4 2017, 12:54 PM
gigi (Guest): good to know air travel isn’t smart after getting treatment. thanks!

Apr 4 2017, 12:55 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @GiGi, we want you to have time to heal so you can enjoy being healthy later You’re welcome Safe travels!

Apr 4 2017, 12:56 PM
Guest4028 (Guest): Does insurance cover spider veins, varicose veins, or both? I’ve heard insurance treats spider veins as a cosmetic only issue – but mine hurt!

Apr 4 2017, 12:56 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @Guest4028, thank you for your question. We are about to answer. We have 4 min left

Apr 4 2017, 12:58 PM
EmoryHealthcare: Just wanted to remind everyone that we have a web page with FAQ you can bookmark right now at http://bit.ly/2nTIEXh

Apr 4 2017, 12:59 PM
EmoryHealthcare: We share videos there that are full of great information, so make sure you check it out and share with friends http://bit.ly/2nTIEXh

Apr 4 2017, 1:00 PM
EmoryHealthcare: @Guest4028, here’s Dr. Rheudasil’s answer for you: “Dear Guest4028, Spider veins seldom cause symptoms and treatment is not usually covered by insurance. Patients that have larger varicose veins are more likely to have symptoms and treatment is often covered by insurance.”

Apr 4 2017, 1:00 PM
Guest4028 (Guest): How many veins can be treated at one session? What is the average number of sessions required for moderate spider veins?

Apr 4 2017, 1:01 PM
EmoryHealthcare: We ran out of time and will continue answering your questions on this page in a few days. We will post all responses here, so come back often, or, even better, bookmark this page right now.

Apr 4 2017, 1:01 PM
EmoryHealthcare: Thanks, everyone, for joining today, have a great day!

Learn More At Emory Vein Center 


About Dr. Rheudasil

Mark Rheudasil, MD, graduated magna cum laude from Abilene Christian University in Texas and he earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1983. He completed a general surgery internship and residency program at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and also completed a fellowship in vascular surgery at Emory University in 1989.

Dr. Rheudasil is a board certified vascular surgeon. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery and the American Venous Forum. He is also a member the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery and is a past President of the Georgia Vascular Society and the Atlanta Vascular Society.

Takeaways: Varicose Vein Live Chat

vv-chat-emailOn Tuesday, June 14 many joined vascular surgeon, Dr. Mark Rheudasil as he discussed varicose vein pain prevention, non-surgical vs. surgical treatment options, differences between varicose and spider veins, and more. During this interactive web chat, participants were able to ask questions and get real-time answers from our Emory Healthcare professional.

Thanks to such a great turnout, we were able to answer quite a few questions that were submitted both prior to and during the chat. Below are some highlights from the live chat. View the full chat transcript here.

Question: Can you give a quick explanation of varicose veins? What causes them and what can I do if I am not wanting to have surgery?

Dr. Rheudasil: Most large varicose veins are caused by incompetent valves in the veins of the legs. Treatment though now rarely requires surgery. Most veins are treated with minor procedures done in the office.

Question: What are the possible treatments for varicose veins?

Dr. Rheudasil: Good question! The way you treat varicose veins is to get rid of them, and that can involve closing them with solutions that we inject into the vein or with heat or on occasion removing the vein through small incisions.

Question: How do I know if my varicose veins are bad enough to need treatment?

Dr. Rheudasil: Treatment for varicose veins is usually performed to relieve symptoms. Some people with small varicose veins so seek treatment for cosmetic reasons. If varicose veins are bothering a patient, it could be time to consider treatment options.

Question: What causes the pain of varicose vein?

Dr. Rheudasil: The pain is usually from the pressure from increased blood being retained in the veins that should otherwise be emptied out.

Question: Is there are relationship between varicose veins and spider veins?

Dr. Rheudasil: Spider veins are small whispy veins on the skin that are most often a result of heredity. Varicose veins are larger bulging, ropey veins that are often a result of valve incompetence, which we mentioned in the previous question. While many patients have both types of vein abnormalities, they are not directly related to one another.

Question: What would treatment be like if I came in to have it done? Painful?

Dr. Rheudasil: Treatment varies from patient to patient. It often includes closing veins with either heat or injections that do involve small needle sticks. The pain from this is usually minor. Most patients do not require any pain medication.

Thanks to everyone who participated! You can view the full chat transcript here. 

cta-learn-blue

Minimizing Varicose Vein Pain and When It’s Time to Consider Treatment

vv-chat-emailThough they may not be preventable, there are ways to reduce the likelihood that you will develop varicose veins. If you already have them, treatment can almost always be performed in the office with minimally invasive techniques and very little discomfort or down time.

Join vascular surgeon, Dr. Mark Rheudasil on Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. EST as he discusses varicose vein pain prevention, non-surgical vs. surgical treatment options, differences between varicose and spider veins, and more. During this interactive web chat, you’ll be able to ask questions and get real-time answers from our Emory Healthcare professional. Register now for our June 14th chat.

cta-chat-blue

Can Men Get Varicose Veins?

male-legsYou bet! You may be surprised to know that almost 40% of men have some form of varicose veins. Though more common in women, abnormal veins can be a significant problem for men. Symptoms of larger veins may include:

  • Aching and heaviness
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Leg swelling

Most men with varicose veins have a family history of similar problems. Obesity, prolonged standing and trauma or prior surgeries are also risk factors for varicose veins.

Varicose vein evaluation includes a brief physical exam and often an ultrasound to look for underlying vein problems that may be a contributing factor. Patients with large varicose veins often have valve dysfunction in veins beneath the skin, which results in excess pressure in the veins.

In general, abnormal veins are treated by shutting them down and redirecting blood into normal veins nearby. This may involve small injections (called “sclerotherapy”) or your doctor may use heat to cauterize and close “feeding veins” with abnormal valves. Almost all procedures are performed in the office with little or no down time, and insurance will often cover treatment of larger varicose veins that cause symptoms.

If you have unsightly or uncomfortable varicose veins, call the Emory Vein Center for an evaluation by one of our board certified vascular surgeons. Your legs will thank you!

About Dr. Rheudasil

rheudasil-j-mark (1)Mark Rheudasil, MD, graduated magna cum laude from Abilene Christian University in Texas and he earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1983. He completed a general surgery internship and residency program at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Rheudasil also completed a fellowship in vascular surgery at Emory University in 1989.

Dr. Rheudasil is a diplomat of the American Board of Surgery and is a board certified vascular surgeon. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the International Society for Cardiovascular and Endovascular Surgery, and the North American chapter of the International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery. He is also a member of the Peripheral Vascular Surgery Society, the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery, the Emory Association of Vascular Surgery, the Atlanta Vascular Society, and the Georgia Surgical Society. He is also a member of the Medical Association of Georgia, the Medical Association of Atlanta, and the Atlanta Clinical Society. He is also certified as a Registered Vascular Technologist.

What is that on my legs? Is it a Bruise or a Vein?

tired-legsVaricose veins often appear as blue or purple streaks on the legs, and larger veins may bulge or protrude above the surface of the skin. Spider veins are small red or blue veins that may look like a spider-web or branches on a tree. Larger varicose veins may look twisted and ropey, and may even be mistaken for a bruise. In general, symptoms become more likely as veins enlarge.

While most patients seek spider vein treatment for cosmetic reasons, varicose veins commonly may cause symptoms such as:

  • Aching
  • Heaviness
  • Itching
  • Cramping
  • Heat
  • Swelling

Though rarely dangerous, varicose veins can occasionally result in bleeding or superficial clotting, and may, in some cases, be a sign of more severe underlying vein problems.

When varicose veins begin to cause symptoms, or when the cosmetic appearance is causing distress, you should see your doctor. In addition to asking about your symptoms and examining your legs, an ultrasound will often be performed to evaluate the anatomy and function of your veins.

The Vascular Surgeons in the Emory Vein Center are specialists in the evaluation and treatment of blood vessel abnormalities, including varicose veins. Treatment is almost always performed in the office with little or no “down-time”, and often is covered by insurance. If you believe varicose veins may be your problem, please call for an appointment.

About Dr. Rheudasil

rheudasil-j-mark (1)J. Mark Rheudasil, MD, graduated magna cum laude from Abilene Christian University in Texas and he earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1983. He completed a general surgery internship and residency program at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and also completed a fellowship in vascular surgery at Emory University in 1989.

Dr. Rheudasil is a board certified vascular surgeon. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery and the American Venous Forum. He is also a member the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery and is a past President of the Georgia Vascular Society and the Atlanta Vascular Society.

Takeaways from Dr. Rheudasil’s Varicose Vein Live Chat

Thanks to everyone who joined us Tuesday, September 8, for our live online chat “Your Aching Legs: Minimizing Varicose Vein Pain and When It’s Time to Consider Treatment” hosted by Dr. Mark Rheudasil.

Although varicose veins may not be preventable, there are ways to reduce the likelihood that you will develop them. Dr. Rheudasil provided some insights on the cause of varicose veins along with tips on how to minimize varicose vein development and minimize the discomfort they cause for those who already have them.

Here are just a few highlights:

Question: I have a profession that requires me to be on my feet all day. I can’t change jobs at this point in my career but want to minimize or prevent the formation of varicose veins. What can I do?”

rheudasil-j-mark (1)Dr. Rheudasil: For people that spend a considerable amount of time on their feet, gravity causes blood to pool in the lower legs – especially when the veins are not functioning normally. This may cause aching or heaviness, and may increase the size of varicose veins. Wear knee-high support stockings, move around a bit so that the calf muscles contract and pump some of the blood out of the lower legs.

 

 

Question: Can losing weight help prevent varicose veins?

rheudasil-j-mark (1)

Dr. Rheudasil: Yes, veins have to pump blood out of the legs against excess weight, so losing weight and being fit helps vein flow and helps reduce varicose vein likelihood.

 

 

 

Question: I am pregnant and have developed varicose veins, which I understand is common, will these go away eventually, or do I need to seek treatment? There is minor pain from time to time.

rheudasil-j-mark (1)Dr. Rheudasil: Pregnancy is a very common risk factor for varicose veins. During pregnancy we prefer to be as conservative as possible, so we would recommend compression stockings and leg elevation. The veins will likely improve after delivery, but they will likely not go away. I would not recommend a specific treatment until after delivery.

 

 

Our chat participants submitted other questions about the effect of heel height on varicose vein formation, the relationship between heart disease and varicose veins, and whether itchy legs could be related to various veins. If you missed this chat, be sure to check out the full list of questions and answers on the web transcript.

If you have additional questions for Dr. Rheudasil, feel free to leave a comment in our comments area below.

Is There a Difference Between Spider Veins and Varicose Veins?

legs (1)Though spider veins and varicose veins are both classified as vein disorders, there are some distinct differences between them.

What do They Look Like?

Spider veins are small, wispy, web-like veins on the skin surface, usually less than one millimeter in diameter. They may be purple or red, and often appear in clusters or nests, which may look like a bruise. Varicose veins are larger veins, which often have a blue color and generally bulge under the skin. Both types of veins are visible and one of the primary treatment goals is an improvement in cosmetic appearance.

What Causes Spider Veins and Varicose Veins?

Spider veins are usually inherited. Obesity, female hormones and prolonged sitting or standing are also contributing factors. Varicose veins are most often a result of valves that function incorrectly. Normal valves allow blood to flow in only one direction—out of the leg and towards the heart. Faulty valves allow blood to flow backward into the leg, increasing pressure in the veins. This increased pressure dilates and elongates the vein, causing it to protrude and appear curved or twisted.

Do These Veins Cause Problems?

Spider veins do not usually cause symptoms, and are primarily treated to improve appearance. Varicose veins often cause heaviness, aching or pressure. They can also cause fatigue, and sometimes restless or jittery legs and itching. Swelling may be a result of vein insufficiency, but, often involves malfunctioning veins deep in the leg as well. Relief of discomfort is the reason most varicose veins are treated.

How Are Varicose Veins Treated?

Varicose veins are almost always treated in the office with minimally invasive techniques. Sclerotherapy—the injection of a dilute solution into the vein, shutting it down—can be used to treat smaller veins, while larger veins may also be treated with sclerotherapy, ablation of faulty veins and excision or mini-phlebectomy (removal) are also commonly performed treatments. The goal is to divert blood from abnormal veins into nearby normal veins, which easily accommodate the extra load. These procedures involve minimal pain and little or no down time. If you are interested in treating your spider or varicose veins, please call the Emory Vein Center for treatment by a board certified vascular surgeon.

About Dr. Rheudasil

rheudasil-j-mark (1)J. Mark Rheudasil, MD, graduated magna cum laude from Abilene Christian University in Texas and he earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1983. He completed a general surgery internship and residency program at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and also completed a fellowship in vascular surgery at Emory University in 1989.

Dr. Rheudasil is a board certified vascular surgeon. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery and the American Venous Forum. He is also a member the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery and is a past President of the Georgia Vascular Society and the Atlanta Vascular Society.

Your Aching Legs: Minimizing Varicose Vein Pain and When It’s Time to Consider Treatment

vv2-calloutThough they may not be preventable, there are ways to reduce the likelihood that you will develop varicose veins. If you already have them, treatment can almost always be performed in the office with minimally invasive techniques with very little discomfort or down time.

Join us Tuesday, September 8, at 12:00 p.m. for a live, interactive web chat about “Your Aching Legs: Minimizing Varicose Vein Pain and When It’s Time to Consider Treatment”.

Dr. Rheudasil will be available to answer questions and discuss various topics about varicose vein pain prevention and treatment options. During this interactive web chat, you’ll be able to ask questions and get real-time answers from our Emory Healthcare professional.

Register now for our September 8 chat.

Chat Sign Up

rheudasil-j-mark (1)About Dr. Rheudasil

Mark Rheudasil, MD, graduated magna cum laude from Abilene Christian University in Texas and he earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1983. He completed a general surgery internship and residency program at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and also completed a fellowship in vascular surgery at Emory University in 1989.

Dr. Rheudasil is a board certified vascular surgeon. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery and the American Venous Forum. He is also a member the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery and is a past President of the Georgia Vascular Society and the Atlanta Vascular Society.

Can I Inherit Varicose Veins?

vein_ 7-29Varicose veins are large, abnormal blood vessels visible on the skin surface. They almost always affect the legs, and often appear as bulging, twisted blue veins. Many theories exist for why varicosities occur in veins, but the consensus is that weak vein walls and valves are the main cause. Inside your larger veins are valves that allow blood to flow toward the heart, but, open to prevent backward flow of blood toward the feet (reflux).

If the valves don’t function properly, excess blood will remain in the veins, raising the pressure and causing them to swell and distend. Some veins will enlarge enough to weaken the walls and become varicose. Though rarely dangerous, varicose veins can often cause symptoms of aching, weakness or heaviness.

The Role of Genetics

Heredity is one of the most important risk factors for developing varicose veins and spider veins. Your risk of developing varicose veins is increased if a close family member has the condition, suggesting a relationship between genetics and the onset of varicose veins.

So just how do genetics affect your veins?

• Some people can inherit problems such as having too few valves or valves that do not function properly.

• Some people may be born with abnormalities of the vein wall. The resulting weakness may predispose the valves to separate and become leaky.

Some groups of people can be easily identified as inheriting varicose veins. Varicose veins during pregnancy are more likely to affect women who have a family history of varicose veins. Varicose veins that occur in younger patients (20s or even younger) are also believed to be inherited in most cases.

Prevention

If you know that close family members have had varicose veins and that you already have a strong genetic predisposition for varicose veins, you can take steps to prevent their onset.

• Lifestyle changes – Take measures to keep your legs strong and in good shape. Walking and exercising helps promote venous circulation by pumping the blood out of your legs and back up to your heart. Adopting a healthy diet can be helpful in keeping weight off and preventing varicose veins. Eating a low-salt diet helps reduce water retention and swelling.

• Compression stockings – Wearing medium, graduated-compression stockings daily, especially if you spend a lot of time on your feet, will do wonders at preventing the development and/or progression of varicose veins.

• See your doctor and get treatment – Get an evaluation to see if you have venous insufficiency. Endovenous ablation is a minimally invasive office-based treatment that is very effective in relieving superficial venous insufficiency. You can check out my recent blog on The Latest in Vein Treatment Technology for more information.

About Dr. Rheudasil

rheudasil-j-markJ. Mark Rheudasil, MD, graduated magna cum laude from Abilene Christian University in Texas and he earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1983. He completed a general surgery internship and residency program at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and also completed a fellowship in vascular surgery at Emory University in 1989.

Dr. Rheudasil is a board certified vascular surgeon. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery and the American Venous Forum. He is also a member the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery and is a past President of the Georgia Vascular Society and the Atlanta Vascular Society.

Dr. Rheudasil has published articles in several medical journals including The Journal of Vascular Surgery, American Surgeon and The Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia. He has lectured at the regional and national level on a variety of topics in vascular surgery.

Did Crossing My Legs Cause These Veins?

Varicose Veins Leg Crossing“Did crossing my legs cause these veins?” This is one of the most common questions I hear when I evaluate patients with varicose veins. The simple answer is NO! In most cases, varicose veins are inherited. Being overweight, female, pregnant and/or spending a lot of time on your feet are common risk factors. Veins are designed to return blood from the legs back to the heart. When veins become varicose or enlarged, blood will pool in these superficial veins rather than efficiently emptying out of the legs. This excess blood, and the pressure that results, stretches and dilates the veins and often leads to symptoms of aching, heaviness and fatigue.

Early treatment should include:

  • Leg elevation and compression stockings
  • Exercise – something as simple as walking may help symptoms considerably

When symptoms become more severe, your doctor may recommend more specific treatment. Minor procedures used to treat varicose veins are almost always performed in the office with little or no recovery time. The goal is to close the abnormal vein and relieve the pressure, and often the unsightly appearance of the varicose veins.

If you have bothersome veins and would like evaluation by one of our board-certified vascular surgeons, please contact the Emory Vein Center for a consultation. Your legs will thank you!

Call 404-778-VEIN or request an appointment online today!

About Dr. Rheudasil

Mark Rheudasil, MDMark Rheudasil, MD,  graduated magna cum laude from Abilene Christian University in Texas and he earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1983. He completed a general surgery internship and residency program at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Rheudasil also completed a fellowship in vascular surgery at Emory University in 1989.

Dr. Rheudasil is a diplomat of the American Board of Surgery and is a board certified vascular surgeon. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the International Society for Cardiovascular and Endovascular Surgery, and the North American chapter of the International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery. He is also a member of the Peripheral Vascular Surgery Society, the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery, the Emory Association of Vascular Surgery, the Atlanta Vascular Society, and the Georgia Surgical Society. He is also a member of the Medical Association of Georgia, the Medical Association of Atlanta, and the Atlanta Clinical Society. He is also certified as a Registered Vascular Technologist.

Dr. Rheudasil has published articles in several medical journals including The Journal of Vascular Surgery, American Surgeon and The Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia. He has lectured at the regional and national level on a variety of topics including current reviews of vascular surgery.