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Varicose Veins

Varicose veins often appear twisted, bulging and many times blue. Some 35 percent of Americans, with a disproportionate number of them women, suffer from this common venous condition, according to the Society for Vascular Surgery.

While not a life-threatening medical concern, varicose veins can severely impact quality of life and result in cramping and chronically fatigued and/or achy feeling legs. They may worsen over time without treatment, and excessive standing or sitting may exacerbate your condition. In a very small percentage of patients, severe varicose veins can lead to the development of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Commonly known as a blood clot, DVTs require immediate medical attention.

Signs & Symptoms | Screening & Diagnosis | Treatment Options

Signs and Symptoms

Typical varicose vein symptoms may include:

  • Throbbing
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Swelling
  • Restlessness
  • Open sores or skin ulcers

Screening and Diagnosis

At NorthShore, our vascular specialists rely on their deep clinical knowledge to accurately screen and diagnose patients with varicose veins and employ the latest imaging tools when necessary. During your comprehensive evaluation, one of our experienced board-certified vascular surgeons will ask you about your medical history and conduct a physical exam. Your NorthShore physician expert may recommend a painless, noninvasive diagnostic procedure called a duplex ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment Options

Exercise, elevating your legs or wearing compression stockings may be recommended for mild to moderate varicose veins. If your condition doesn’t improve with these first-line or initial treatment approaches, we offer leading-edge minimally-invasive options customized to your unique needs, including:

  • Endovenous Laser Ablation Therapy—This state-of-the-art technique safely uses laser energy to effectively seal the varicose vein from its primary blood source to stop any more blood from pooling in the diseased vein. An in-office procedure, laser therapy features minimal discomfort. Most patients experience significant relief from their symptoms and can resume normal activities after a short recovery period.

  • Endovenous Chemical Adhesive Ablation Therapy—A new, virtually painless approach to treating varicose veins is now available at NorthShore. The VenaSealTM Closure System essentially “superglues” varicose veins closed to prevent blood from flowing backward (venous reflux). The only FDA-approved chemical adhesion therapy of its kind, VenaSealTM involves the catheter-based delivery of a proprietary medical adhesive directly to the diseased vein. Other than a small needle stick to numb the site, this innovative technique features little-to-no discomfort or bruising during or after the procedure.

  • Ambulatory Microphlebectomy—Performed in the outpatient setting, microphlebectomy involves the removal of small varicose veins from the surface of your leg. Using local anesthetic to ensure your comfort, your NorthShore vascular surgeon will make a few small nicks in your skin to take out and eliminate the vein. A bandage is often all that is needed to close any incisions.

  • Sclerotherapy—Sclerotherapy is a safe and effective commonly-used injection-therapy for eliminating unsightly small varicose veins and spider veins. An FDA-approved medication is injected directly into the vein. The “sclerosing” solution causes irritation to the interior walls of the vein, eventually causing the abnormal vein to shrink and disappear. Typically, several sclerotherapy sessions are required for the best results and it may take several months for improvement to be seen.

NorthShore’s vascular surgeons routinely perform these procedures and have a thorough understanding of venous anatomy to ensure optimal results and the best patient experience.

We will work with you and your insurance company to determine if treatment is covered, and if not, will provide a cost estimate prior to treatment.

For More Information

Please call 847.663.8050 for more information on varicose veins or to schedule an appointment with one of our vascular specialists.