Myths of Varicose Veins in Minnesota

Treatment: EVLA | EVLA faq | Sclerotherapy | Mini Phlebectomy | Spider Veins Treatment

People in Minneapolis and St Paul sometimes believe that the climate in our state affects their varicose veins more than other climates. That is just a myth and simply not true. Here are some other myths about varicose veins and spider veins.

First myth: Varicose veins are not a medical issue, just a cosmetic issue. IT is not true as the cause of varicose veins is valves in the vein not working properly which causes the blood to pool in the vein. When varicose veins are left untreated they can cause serious medical issues such as; stasis dermatitis, blood clots, etc.

Second myth: Varicose veins don’t hurt, they just look bad. Varicose veins can cause pain and discomfort if left untreated. The blood that is pooling in the vein causes it to be swollen and start to bulge. It can lead to discomfort all day long.

Third myth: Varicose veins are a female issue. Not true. While more women than men suffer from varicose veins, a percentage of men do as well.

Fourth Myth: Spider vein is an isolated problem. Not true. Although spider veins can be caused by rosacea, sun damage, radiation exposure, trauma, and topical corticosteroids, the most common acquired cause is increased venous pressure, or venous hypertension. Spider veins in the legs are often related to the presence of venous hypertension within underlying varicose veins due to valve dysfunction.

Fifth Myth: Stripping surgery is the only way to cure varicose veins – It might be true in the past. Now, those with varicose veins can have the minimal invasive laser treatment, called endovenous laser ablation (EVLA), to remove the veins quickly and safely under local tumescent anesthesia. Another non-surgical option is sclerotherapy, injecting the chemical to seal the veins.

Varicose vein and Pregnancy |Minneapolis

Women in Minnesota often get varicose veins during pregnancy. The reason that women get this during pregnancy is because the uterus is applying pressure to the large vein that carries the blood back to the heart from the feet and legs. Varicose veins are hereditary so chances are, if your mother had them, so will you. They affect the skin and body tissue that can be itchy, uncomfortable or even painful. They are found in the legs, genital area or the rectum. The varicose veins in the rectum are also called hemorrhoids.

While you can’t totally prevent varicose veins, you can reduce them or avoid making them worse. During the day takes breaks by getting up and moving around especially if you do a lot of sitting. Don’t cross your legs when you are sitting down. Elevate your feet. Wear support hose. Don’t wear socks that cut off your circulation. Do low impact exercise daily if your doctor has given you the OK to do so. Sleep on your left side to keep pressure off of the inferior vena cava which is on the right side. If you have veins that feel hard, warm or painful, call your doctor. The varicose should get better after delivery when the uterus is no longer applying pressure to the vein that carries the blood back to the heart.

For some women even after having a baby, the varicose veins or hemorrhoids may not go away. Dr. Steven Shu of One Stop Medical Center in Edina and Shoreview, MN, specializes in office procedures for varicose veins and hemorrhoids. He has treated many women who have come in after having a baby and who are dealing with painful varicose veins or hemorrhoids. Dr Shu says, “I really enjoy helping women to be pain free and to feel happy again so they can enjoy their new baby.” He recommends getting treatment right away if the varicose veins and hemorrhoids don’t go away on their own. If they are not treated, they will only get worse.

Varicose Vein Treatment Options in Minnesota

It is estimated that 25 percent of women in Minnesota have varicose veins. Pregnancy and obesity are two things that can put women at the higher risk for developing a varicose vein in Minneapolis/ St. Paul. People who stand for a long time or have the history of venous thrombosis may also be at an increased risk for developing varicose veins. Venous thrombosis is a condition that occurs when a blood clot develops in one or more veins.

Bulging veins are the most common sign of varicose veins. People may also notice a heavy feeling in their legs or edema in the ankles, especially after long standing. Additionally, varicose veins can be painful.

varicose veins have a tendency to get worse. The good news is that there is varicose vein treatment in Minnesota available. Endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) is one of the most effective treatment options that are available for people who have varicose veins. This procedure involves using laser energy to seal a varicose vein shut. It typically takes about an hour to complete and is performed under local anesthesia.

Sclerotherapy is another treatment that can remove small varicose veins. This procedure involves injecting a sclerosant into the veins. The scleroscant causes the inner lining of the vein to become irritated. This causes the veins to close. No anesthesia is needed and one treatment can be completed in 15 minutes. Patients typically have to get 2-4 treatments. Very fine spider veins (telangiectasia) can be treated with external laser ablation.

Varicose veins can also be treated with mini-phlebectomy. Mini-phlebectomy involves making small incisions and removing the varicose veins. It is performed under local anesthesia. Patients can return to their normal activities after this procedure, but they will need to wear compression stockings for two or three weeks after their procedure.

Venous Stasis Ulcers in Minnesota

Although venous problems are probably among the most common chronic conditions in the Minnesota, ulcers are not common. Venous stasis ulcers are the end- stage of venous insufficiency. The region most commonly affected is the area just above the medial side of ankle (medial malleolus). Venous insufficiency develops when the valves malfunction within the veins occurs, and blood flows back down the lower extremity that leads to elevated pressures within the veins and capillaries. These “dammed-back” capillaries undergo changes , which further diminish nutrient exchange in the surrounding tissues.

Venous ulcers present with areas of poorly healing skin wounds, red-based or exudative, with local skin necrosis and irregular borders. Frequently the surrounding tissue has other signs of venous insufficiency, such as hyperpigmentation, pitting edema, and excess scar formation. Without proper treatment, venous stasis ulcers can take many months to heal.

The mainstay of treatment for Venous stasis ulcers in the Minneapolis & St Paul areas is compression with Unna’s boots. Unna’s boots are left in place for 7-10 days and then changed weekly. Debridement is important part of wound care. Debridement of necrotic debris should be provided to encourage growth of granulation tissue. Antibiotics are seldom useful in the treatment of venous stasis ulcers unless signs of infection are present.

The underlying cause of venous stasis ulceration is venous stasis. Using modern technolgoies and minimal invasive techniques such as endovenous laser ablation, sclerotherapy and mini phlebectomy the breaking down of skin tissue can be corrected. By correcting the increased pressure in the superficial venous system with the ablation, the vein specialist in One Stop Medical Center not only can help to heal the venous stasis ulcer, but can prevent chronic recurrence.

How to Treat Varicose Veins in Minneapolis and St. Paul

The veins are the blood vessels that are responsible for returning blood to the heart. A varicose vein develops when some of the blood stays inside of the veins due to defective valves. Many risk factors such as pregnancy, obesity and long standing could aggravate it. Varicose veins are swollen, twisted veins that can be very uncomfortable sometimes. It is important to note that painful varicose veins are more common in women than in men in Minnesota.

Feelings of fullness, pain or fatigue in the legs with swollen, visible veins are some of the main symptoms of varicose veins in Minnesota. Patients who have a severe case of varicose veins may develop the complications such as stasis dermatitis and skin ulcers near their ankles.

Varicose veins can be quite bothersome, but fortunately, there are things that can be done to treat them. Sclerotherapy is one of the many treatment options available in Minnesota for small varicose veins. This procedure involves injecting a solution into the vein. This solution causes the varicose vein to collapse. The treated veins will completely fade within a few weeks.

Endovenous laser ablation is another treatment option in Minneapolis for large varicose veins. This procedure involves inserting a laser fiber into the vein. The heat from the laser causes the vein to shrink and eventually disappear.

Additionally, people in the Minneapolis and St. Paul areas have the option of getting mini-phlebectomy. This treatment involves making tiny incisions in order to remove the varicose veins. The patient will be given a local anesthetic prior to this procedure. Because the incisions are so tiny, the doctor will not have to use sutures to close them.

How to Manage Varicose Veins in Pregnancy | Minneapolis

Varicose veins often occur during pregnancy as a result of extra blood that’s produced, which adds a lot of pressure on blood vessels inside the leg veins. Also, the size of a woman’s uterus keeps increasing during pregnancy, adding further pressure to the pelvic blood vessels. Some hormones like progesterone produced during pregnancy have the vessel dilation effect.

Although varicose veins during pregnancy can show up almost anywhere in the lower half of your body, the bulging venous vessels are found primarily in the legs. They swell above the surface of the skin with those distinctive bluish and purplish bulges women in Minnesota love to hate.

Varicose veins are the common reason for the office visit in the Minneapolis and St. Paul areas. Varicose veins may cause discomfort like itching and aching, and they’re certainly not nice to look at — but the good news is they’re unlikely to pose any major risk. Most Varicose veins typically shrink or completely disappear within a few months following birth. However, in the case that a woman becomes pregnant again, these same veins might reappear. Like many other pregnancy symptoms, varicose veins tend to be hereditary.

The best thing for women in Minnesota to do for their Varicose veins during pregnancy is keep the blood circulating by exercising and keep the legs elevated when sitting. It is also important not to wear tight clothing to cause added pressure on the veins. Wearing support hose can support veins and improve the symptoms such as heaviness or leg swelling. Keeping weight gain to a minimum during pregnancy and sleeping on your left side to avoid pressure on your main blood vessels will also help. Lastly, getting your daily dose of vitamin C from a balanced diet will keep the veins healthy. If the Varicose veins don’t go away after the baby has arrived, there are options to have them medically treated or surgically removed, the newest treatment for varicose veins in Minneapolis is endovenous laser ablation (EVLA), other options include sclerotherapy and mini phlebectomy. Small spider veins can be removed in the noninvasive way with the external laser.

Eliminating Varicose Veins with Laser | Minneapolis

If you have varicose veins then you are familiar with the discomfort they can cause and the feeling that you don’t want anyone to see your legs. Many men and women in Minnesota will not even wear shorts due to how unsightly the veins can be. You probably have varicose veins if you suffer from these symptoms: Dark red, purple or blue veins close to the surface of the skin, veins in the legs with a bulging, ropy or knotty appearance, trouble walking more than a short distance without fatigue, restless leg syndrome, legs that throb, itch or burn, roadmap or cobweb like veins on the skin or your head, neck, chest or arms, discoloration of skin or edema in the ankles. The symptoms you see are from the veins not working properly.

In healthy veins, the blood will flow smoothly from the heart to the limbs through arteries and then the deoxygenated blood is pumped back out through veins. With varicose veins the valves are not working properly and the blood is pooling or is going in the reverse direction that it is supposed to. Causes could be from age, pregnancy, weight gain, physical stress, it could also be hereditary. Sometimes the valves can just weaken or fail working all together. Don’t worry, if you have varicose veins they can easily be treated today.

In the past treatment for varicose veins in the Minneapolis and St. Paul areas required ligation and stripping in hospital. It was uncomfortable, expensive and had much more downtime associated with it. Today a minimally invasive treatment called endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) is much faster and more comfortable to the patient with minimal downtime. EVLA is thermal ablation using a thin laser fiber in a targeted segment of the varicose vein. It will permanently collapse and shrink the vein without having to surgically remove it. A local anesthesia is used to keep the patient comfortable during the procedure. EVLA takes about an hour and is done right in our procedure clinic in Edina, MN. The patient is able to walk out after the procedure is done. The cosmetic results are amazing and the patient’s self-esteem is restored as well.

History of Varicose Vein Surgery Part 2 | Minnesota

The University of Cordoba in the Arabs produced one of the most famous surgeons. He was known to the western culture as Albucasis (930 AD to 1313 AD). He became a prominent surgeon during that era. He was appointed as the Court-Physician of King Abdel-Rahman III. Besides his practice of medicine he also did a lot of medical and surgical writings.

He wrote thirty volumes of a digest of vast medical knowledge called Tasrif. He is also known for writing the best medieval surgical encyclopedia on record. It dealt with all aspects of surgery and was the first textbook of surgery to include illustrations of instruments to be used in surgery. It became very famous as it was the standard textbook of surgery used up to the 17th century in prestigious western universities. His medical and surgical expertise was evident in his writings of exact details of clinical and surgical procedures. His writings described the binding of the arteries long before any other physicians. His descriptions of varicose vein stripping are almost like our modern day surgeries for the veins.

The progress of medical science and surgery stalled for about 350 years after 13th century when barber surgeons routinely performed surgeries. In 16th century, the ligation at the site of the varix became the preferred varicose vein surgery. A century later, the combination of bleeding, diet and application of bandages to the legs was recommended by a German surgeon, Lorenz Heister, to avoid varicose vein surgery.

In the mid 1600’s intravenous drugs were first introduced. Opium was put into the vein of a dog using a metal tube and was successful. The hypodermic syringe did not appear until 1851. The introduction of anesthesia and antiseptics, delivered by the hypodermic syringe, brought about great changes in the treatment of varicose veins. In the 1850’s injections really took off and the treatment of veins by injection was becoming popular. The injections were either perchloride of iron or iodine. The perchloride of iron seemed to cause inflammation and swelling. In order to help correct this, the use of compression was advised in order to prevent dilation of the veins. In 1894, due to the high numbers of complications from this treatment, treating varicose veins by injection was abandoned.

History of Varicose Vein Surgery, Part 1 | Minnesota

The Origin of the word varicose comes from the Greek word, “grapelike”. It was thought to be first used as a medical description by Hippocrates in 460 BC. For over 2000 years mankind has suffered from varicose veins and has been experimenting with many ways to treat the medical problem. For many people it is also a cosmetic issue. Below is a summary of the history of varicose vein treatments and how they evolved through the years in different parts of the world.

The ancient Egyptians described varicose veins as ‘Serpentine Windings’ which were not to be surgically worked on because patients would be ‘head to the ground’. This was the first written account describing a failed attempt at surgery on varicose veins implying that the use of incisions lead to fatal hemorrhaging.

Hippocrates wrote some of the earliest medical descriptions of varicose veins. The Hippocratic Treatises, written in 460 BC took Varicose Vein treatments one step farther. He did not recommend excision but rather compression following multiple punctures. He also believed in cautery. Paulus Aegineta (AD 625-690) favored ligation of the long saphenous vein 200 years before Trendelenberg.

In a medical treatise De Medicina, a Roman physician named Celcus (25 BC – AD 14) described the ligation and excision surgeries, as well as possible complications. Galen (AD 131 – 201), also provided a description of varicose veins and promoted the use of severing the connection of the arteries to veins in order to reduce pain and avoid spreading gangrene. Celsus and Galen were possibly the first to describe ‘phlebectomies‘, a technique still used today. Celsus made multiple incisions 4 fingerbreadths apart, then touched the vein with cautery, grasped it and extracted as much of the vein as possible, double damping and dividing the vein between ligatures. Galen described making 3-6 incisions with a hook and then bandaging the leg. Roman surgeons used to carry scalpels with blunt handles that could be used for dissecting varicose veins, a procedure that was done without any form of anesthetic.

The Roman Caius Marius, who was known as a tyrant, had the varicose vein surgery of his time. After treatment on one leg he declined surgery on the other leg saying ‘I see the cure is not worth the pain’. Obviously having this surgery without anesthetic was not comfortable by any means for the patient.

Oribasius of Pergamum ( 325-405), a Byzantine physician, devoted 3 chapters of text to varicose veins. He described the details of the surgery for varicose veins of the legs included shaving and bathing the leg, followed by marking with small incisions and excising the varicose veins with 1 or 2 hooks along the leg through the small incision.

One Stop Care of Varicose Veins in Minnesota

Chronic venous disease of the legs is one of the most common conditions affecting people in Minneapolis and St Paul areas. Approximately half of the Minnesota population has venous disease. Of these, 20 to 25% of the women and 10 to 15% of men will have visible varicose veins.

It has been known that varicose veins are caused by weakening of the veins and valves in the legs. When the valves in the veins do not properly keep blood flowing from the legs up to the heart, blood begins to collect in the legs resulting in the buildup of pressure. The veins become enlarged and knotted and are visible near the surface of the skin.

Varicose veins typically appear in the feet, ankles and throughout the legs. They can cause pain, swelling, heaviness, itching and cramps. Most cases in Minnesota do not require immediate medical treatment unless there are serious complications associated with the veins.

Although most cases do not cause discomfort or warrant immediate concern, many people in Minneapolis and St Paul areas are bothered by the unsightly appearance of varicose veins. There are three effective treatment options for varicose veins.

Sclerotherapy is a procedure that uses tiny needles to inject the veins with a chemical sclerant to harden the veins and help them fade away. The treatment lasts about 15 minutes in length and is performed every four weeks. Some patients see satisfactory results within one treatment while others with more severe cases may benefit from more sessions.

Endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) uses a laser fiber to insert through the skin directly into the vein. The laser heats up the lining of the vein causing it to shrink and fade away. This procedure is more commonly used on larger varicose veins and treatment can take less than an hour to perform.

A procedure called a mini phlebectomy may be used in conjunction with other therapies to treat large, bulging varicose veins. Tiny incisions are made into the skin and superficial veins are removed using vein hooks. It is performed under local anesthesia so pain is minimal.