Vein problems are common in the U.S. and around the world. By age 50, nearly 40% of ladies and 20% of men have some type of significant vein disorder. Leg pain, swelling, bulging varicosities, and ulcers caused by vein insufficiency are common reasons our patients suffer and lose time from work. Spider veins are often unsightly as well as uncomfortable, and prevent many of our patients from wearing shorts or bathing suits.
Vein disorders are manifested in a variety of ways:
Varicose veins are swollen veins that lie under your skin. They look lumpy and dark blue or purple through your skin. They usually affect your legs, particularly your calf and sometimes your thigh. Varicose veins develop when blood doesn't flow properly through the veins in your legs. There are two main types of veins in your legs: superficial veins – These lie under your skin and include the long and short saphenous veins; and deep veins.
The saphenous veins are connected to the deep veins inside your legs by perforator veins. When blood doesn't flow properly from your superficial veins to your deep veins, pressure can build up. This is often due to problems with the one way valves that stop blood leaking back into your superficial veins. This results in blood collecting or pooling in your superficial veins and these are called varicose veins. For more information on Varicose Veins, varicose vein causes, symptoms, risk factors, and more; please follow the link to webmd.
Spider veins are small yet unsightly clusters of red, blue or purple veins that most commonly appear on the face, thighs, calves and ankles. In fact, it’s estimated that at least half of the adult female population is affected with this common cosmetic problem. We currently most often treat spider veins with Sclerotherapy. In this simple procedure, veins are injected with a special solution which causes veins to collapse and fade from view.
A number of factors contribute to the development of spider veins, including heredity factors, pregnancy and other events that cause hormonal shifts, weight gain. Occupations or activities that require prolonged exposure to environmental elements or prolonged sitting and standing can also exacerbate the problem.
The number of treatments required to achieve a successful result will depend on the severity and long standing nature of the problem area. If more than one treatment is required (which is typical), treated spider veins will appear lighter after each treatment. Patients should be aware that the procedure treats only those veins that are currently visible; it does nothing to permanently alter the venous system or prevent new veins from surfacing in the future. For more information please visit our spider vein treatment patient guide page.
Stasis dermatitis is the red or brown skin color change around the ankle and lower leg, caused by chronic venous stasis. Iron pigment from blood is responsible for the darker skin tattoo appearance.
Venous ulcers develop on the inside of the ankle most commonly, but sometimes on the outside as well. These ulcers are very painful, and are due to when your one-way valves that make sure blood flows up the leg and not back down become not as effective or damaged by thrombosis (clots) in the veins. If these valves become damaged, blood can flow the wrong way down the veins, which results in a very high pressure in the veins when standing up. This abnormally high pressure in the veins damages the skin and leads to the venous ulcers.
Many patients suffer leg pain and swelling from chronic leg vein congestion. This too is caused by abnormal leaking veins of the legs. Correction of the problem relieves pain and swelling within one to two months.
Some patients with vein insufficiency suffer night time leg cramps and restless leg syndrome. Once the leg veins are corrected, one-third of patients are completely relieved of these symptoms.
All patients with symptomatic vein insufficiency can be treated, almost regardless of age. We have treated patients as young as 16 and as old as 95. Most patients suffer from varicose veins, leg pain and swelling, restless legs, numerous painful superficial veins, and some suffer from very painful vein stasis ulcers. Surprisingly, many patients and their doctors are not aware that underlying vein incompetency is the reason patients are suffering from leg pain, heavy legs, and swelling.
In the past, patients on blood thinners could not be treated. Dr. Kingsley determined a method to treat even these difficult patients, so that many patients taking anticoagulants can now be treated in our Vein Centers. Patients with acute phlebitis are treated as an emergent-urgent situaion, avoiding the need for long term blood thinners. Some patients with deep vein abnormalities are thought not to be candidates for treatment, but Dr. Kingsley determined that even most of these patients can be successfully treated.
The treatment process starts with diagnosis of the patient's vein abnormalities, which requires special expertise. A well-trained vascular ultrasonographer must perform the diagnostic ultrasound evaluation of every major leg vein in our patients. Our sonographers have many years of experience and are able to identify the cause of vein incompetence in all of our patients. Our doctors perform the physical examinations, and then correlate symptoms, physical examination findings, and the ultrasound analysis to make the proper diagnosis and treatment recommendations.
The endovenous ablation operations and the adjuvant treatments are far less traumatic. There is very little associated pain, and many of our patients return to work within a few days. The treatments are also far more accurate than any other methods, for ultrasound allows our determination of the exact problem. We are able to select and eliminate all abnormal veins, and spare the normal veins. Vein flow and physiology are returned to near normal in our patients. Leg pain disappears as do many other symptoms, and of course the cosmetic change to a more normal appearance is often dramatic. All procedures can be performed in our Vein Center, hospitalization is unnecessary. Equally important, medicare and all insurance companies pay for these procedures, with exception of the spider vein treatments.
Our patients are some of the most grateful patients we have ever treated. Leg pain is relieved, leg swelling often goes away within a couple of months, most of the ulcers heal within a few months, and the unsightly veins disappear. Many of our patients wear shorts after years of hiding their legs. Quality of life is significantly improved in most of our patients, for they can again become active. Even work is easier and more productive. Veins do have a reputation to re-occur after a year or more. We follow our patients indefinitely if they wish, and most recurrent veins can be treated with simple injections. However, we are amazed at how well these modern treatments last. More than 2000 patients were followed for one year and many for longer. More than 99% were found to have success of treatment both with sustained elimination of the bad veins and relief from all symptoms.
For more information about your options with varicose and spider vein removal treatments in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Prattville, Cullman, or Oxford Alabama contact Alabama Vein Center at 877.268.Vein or contact us to schedule your appointment today!