Is the treatment of varicose veins simply a cosmetic procedure?


Varicose vein treatments might appear to be cosmetic in nature, but there are many reasons why varicose veins should be evaluated by a doctor and possibly treated medically.

If left untreated, varicose veins can lead to edema (swelling from fluid build-up) in the legs or ankles, and bleeding, open sores or skin ulcers at the site of the varicose vein. A more serious complication is that a blood clot can form in the vein. This clotting can lead to deep vein thrombosis and can potentially break off and travel to the lung (pulmonary embolism).

Spider vein treatment can be considered more cosmetic in nature, but these tiny, blueish broken vessels that appear on the legs, ankles and face, can be an early warning sign of chronic vein insufficiency.

Varicose veins develop when a valve in the veins fail, causing the blood to back up and pool. The pressure in the wall of the vein increases from the pooling of the blood and the vein balloons. This ballooning is why a protrusion is seen through the skin. Depending on the severity of the pooling and the pressure, the vein can become thick and ropelike.

A frequent complaint of anyone who lives with varicose veins is their appearance. Thickening of the skin, color changes and the formation of open sores are common. For some sufferers, the unattractive appearance of the veins and the skin discoloration inhibits what they wear, especially in public.

Physically, sufferers often experience aching and swelling of the lower legs and ankles, leg cramping and a general feeling of fatigue in the legs. These physical effects play a role in activity levels, too. It is hard to be motivated to exercise when you feel as if your legs are tired.

Elevating your legs and wearing compression stockings can help relieve symptoms. Even though these at-home techniques can offer some temporary relief, these methods do not resolve the problem. One common factor between spider veins and varicose veins is that both conditions cannot be resolved without medical treatment.

The good news is that modern treatments are minimally invasive and performed in the office, so there is little down time. Patients report slight discomfort from the procedure and are back to the everyday activities quickly, including work.

The cosmetic improvement seen after the treatment is real – and sufferers do feel much better about showing off their skin. However, that does not mean the treatment is not necessary.

San Diego Vein Institute reduces and eliminates the appearance of varicose veins and helps its patients to regain their self-confidence. San Diego Vein Institute is located at 336 Encinitas Boulevard, Suite 130, Encinitas, CA 92024. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (760) 944-9263 or visit