Varicose veins: the most prevalent disease in the world

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are a manifestation of chronic venous disease. They are dilations of the veins, which lose their normal function of carrying blood from the extremities to the heart and become insufficient. Over time, the reflux of blood in the insufficient veins causes fluids to accumulate in the lower portions of the body and edema (swelling of the legs) develops. If varicose veins are left untreated, the problem of fluid accumulation ends up causing skin disorders that favor the appearance of venous ulcers.

Varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency

This is the most prevalent disease worldwide. Approximately 50% of the population suffers from varicose veins.

What is chronic venous insufficiency?

Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) is the set of symptoms and signs derived from venous hypertension in the lower limbs due to a malfunction of the venous system.

It is a chronic disease with a high incidence in the population and in its most severe forms, such as skin disorders and ulcers, are responsible for a low quality of life and sick leave.

What symptoms do patients with varicose veins have?

The most common symptoms of people suffering from varicose veins are heavy legs, swelling, cramps, pain, tiredness, stains and even ulcers in the more advanced stages.

Are varicose veins just a cosmetic problem?

Varicose veins are not just an aesthetic problem. They are a sign that venous circulation is insufficient, and sometimes become a health problem that affects the quality of life of those who suffer from it. It can cause heaviness, tingling, cramps and/or pain. In more advanced cases it can cause edema, changes in skin coloration such as hyperpigmentation, excema, thickening of the skin as lipodermatosclerosis and in the most severe cases venous ulcers.

Varicose veins have an important hereditary component, but there are also certain factors that favor their appearance such as obesity, sedentary lifestyle, pregnancy or age.

Why do varicose veins appear?

Although varicose veins can appear in any person, there are some factors that favor their appearance:

  • About 90% of people with varicose veins have a family history.
  • It is more prevalent in women than in men.
  • Over the years, the walls of the veins tend to weaken.
  • During pregnancy, the amount of blood and pressure in the veins increases. In some cases varicose veins disappear after pregnancy, but in others they remain.
  • Menopause and hormonal contraceptives increase the risk of varicose veins.
  • In obesity there is an increase in intra-abdominal pressure that is transmitted to the veins of the legs worsening the symptoms.
  • When sitting or standing without moving for prolonged periods of time we stop using the muscular pump of the legs favoring the stasis of blood in the legs.
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Dr. Magallanes uses minimally invasive techniques that, in addition to achieving optimal results, offer multiple advantages:

  • Outpatient procedures, without anesthesia, without admission, with immediate recovery.
  • No pain and no scars.

How is the treatment performed?

The treatment of varicose veins is performed on an outpatient basis. In a first consultation, which includes the realization of the Doppler ultrasound, a precise diagnosis is made, and the best therapeutic option for each case is proposed.

An anamnesis and a complete physical examination is performed, as well as a study with Doppler ultrasound, which allows a map of the entire venous circulation of the limb with which the most appropriate treatment will be determined.

The treatment is completely painless. General anesthesia is not used, but a minimal amount of local anesthesia is necessary to reduce the initial discomfort of the puncture in the case of needing to introduce a catheter.

Depending on each case, sometimes the treatment can be performed with puncture of the varicose veins and administration of sclerosing microfoam. In cases of large truncal varicose veins it is necessary to introduce a catheter into the varicose vein through which microfoam sclerosant or glue can be administered.

After treatment

The patient can resume his daily activities immediately after the treatment without any problem (he will even be able to practice sports).

The patient should walk often and wear a compression stocking for 7-10 days after treatment.

Recurrence after treatment is estimated at 10-30% after 3 years.

Dr. Magallanes reminds us that the importance of treating varicose veins goes beyond the aesthetic issue, since untreated varicose veins can significantly affect the quality of life. Thus, as an Interventional Vascular Radiologist, he has extensive clinical knowledge of the disease and excellent technical skills, which allows him to offer patients the most modern and effective alternatives for the minimally invasive treatment of varicose veins.