Varicose Veins vs. Vanity

Varicose Veins vs. Vanity

You’re so vein; you probably thought this article was about you…

Varicose veins are fairly common and account for almost 90% of all vein surgery.  As a result, there are many different minimally invasive procedures for dealing with varicose veins.  Several new techniques have evolved that will achieve the desired outcome of ridding you of your unwanted veins.

The indications for treating varicose veins are well established.  A common misconception even among some physicians is that varicose veins are nothing more than a cosmetic procedure.  In fact, at times, symptoms can be quite severe and include aching, heaviness, and burning pain in the lower extremities.  In women, these symptoms are often exacerbated by the higher progesterone levels which peak at the beginning of the menstrual cycle.  Symptoms also develop with prolonged standing or sitting.  Men generally have fewer symptoms but often become more pronounced with age and eventually the varicose veins become enlarged and press on nerves in the legs.  Surprisingly though, the severity of symptoms are not always related to the size of the veins.

Studies have shown, however, that large varicose veins can eventually result in venous ulcerations.  Given the fact that one out of five patients with large varicose veins initially seen in the office setting suffers from venous ulcerations, large varicosities are widely recognized as an indication for surgery.  Skin changes surrounding these veins are associated with chronic venous insufficiency and usually precede venous ulcerations.

While it is true that for many women, the appearance of varicose veins is often the reason  for seeking treatment, patients often acknowledge symptoms such as aching, heaviness and fatigue but mistakenly attribute them to prolonged standing instead of the varicose veins themselves.  People often believe that these symptoms are normal and are shocked at how good their legs feel after the abnormal veins are fixed.

To find out more, please give us a call at 724-969-0600 and we would be happy to answer your questions.

About The Author

Dr. John Happel

Dr. John Happel has been in practice as a surgeon since 1986 in the Pittsburgh region. He specializes in vascular surgery and has subspecialized in the treatment of varicose and spider veins since 1999. Dr. Happel is board certified in vascular surgery and recertified in vascular surgery in 2012. He was chosen in 1985 to fulfill the position for the vascular surgical fellowship at the world renowned Mayo Clinic.