Varicose veins affect about 20% of all adults. The distinctive bluish-purple lines commonly seen on the legs are often entirely harmless, serving as more of a cosmetic issue than a medical one. However, not all varicose veins are the same, and some are painful and dangerous.
At Beach Cities Vein and Laser Center, we specialize in treating and eliminating varicose veins through our varicose vein center, which offers a wide range of treatment options to the El Segundo, CA, community. So whether your varicose veins are a cosmetic nuisance or a severe medical concern, we have a solution for you.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Veins are part of the vascular structure of the body. They have thin walls and valves that keep the blood flowing, and they carry blood from the body’s tissues to the heart and lungs to get oxygen. Over time, veins can lose their elasticity and their valves can deteriorate, causing blood flow problems.
Varicose veins form from abnormal blood flow. When veins become enlarged, twisted, or pooled with blood, they form varicose veins. Varicose veins are prevalent in the legs because the valves there need to work harder to fight gravity for the blood to flow correctly.
As the veins of the legs stop working normally, they become stretched out and dilated. The blood in the veins backs up and pools. The pooled blood causes the distinct purplish-blue appearance of varicose veins and allows them to be more visible on the skin’s surface.
Varicose veins can range from spider veins, which are thin and threadlike, to reticular veins, which are much larger and deeper.
How Are Varicose Veins Diagnosed?
Since varicose veins are so distinctive, they’re often diagnosed just by their appearance. However, some deep connecting varicose veins need special ultrasound devices to identify, diagnose and treat. This process is notoriously complicated and requires the work of an experienced professional.
As the director of Beach Cities Vein and Laser Center, Dr. Mark Rayman is board certified in diagnostic radiology and vascular and interventional radiology. This makes him uniquely qualified to perform and interpret diagnostic ultrasounds for varicose veins.
Proper diagnosis allows for better varicose vein treatment. A diagnostic ultrasound performed by a skilled professional accurately determines the size and location of varicose veins and the direction of blood flow. Fully understanding your varicose veins results in choosing the most effective treatment.
When Are Varicose Veins a Medical Concern?
If you experience the following symptoms, you should seek medical treatment immediately:
- Hyperpigmentation of the lower leg and ankle
- Thickening or hardening of the skin of the leg or ankle
- Skin ulcers not caused by injury.
These concerns require urgent attention.
Some patients’ varicose veins are caused by a deep vein clot or deep venous thrombosis (DVT). These can cause leg pain and swelling, or they may present without symptoms. DVT can be fatal if a blood clot breaks off and travels to the lungs.
While most varicose veins are not related to DVT, the risk posed by the condition underscores the need for an accurate ultrasound. The most common symptom of DVT is calf swelling in one leg. Dr. Rayman’s diagnostic ultrasound at our varicose vein center can diagnose DVT and track the blood clot’s progress.
Varicose Vein Treatments
Varicose vein treatment options range from compression stockings to surgery. Our varicose vein center can provide a comprehensive treatment plan intended to meet the needs of all patients, depending on the severity of their varicose veins.
Compression Stockings and Medication
Compression stockings promote blood flow back up the legs and to the heart. Which compression stockings deliver the most effective results depends on the size, strength, and style. We recommend consulting our varicose vein specialist to determine the correct support for your needs.
Additionally, over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammatory medications can reduce discomfort associated with varicose veins. Patients should also ensure they’re managing their varicose veins through physical exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and elevating their legs above their hearts once or twice a day.
Ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy requires a highly trained vein specialist and treats small or medium varicose veins. Dr. Rayman will insert a tiny needle into the varicose vein using the ultrasound for guidance. He’ll then inject the vein with medication causing it to close and the body to eliminate it.
This minimally invasive treatment requires no incisions and typically treats multiple veins at once.
Microphlebectomy treatments target more prominent varicose veins near the skin’s surface, as well as prominent veins on the backs of hands. This popular option offers a dramatic improvement in a straightforward procedure.
In a microphlebectomy treatment, the veins are removed via tiny incisions, typically so small that stitches are unnecessary. The entire procedure takes 30–60 minutes, depending on the number of veins removed.
VenaSeal procedures offer quick recovery with immediate, dramatic results. For the VenaSeal treatment, a small catheter is threaded up the varicose vein. Using an ultrasound’s precise guidance, Dr. Rayman administers tiny drops of adhesive into the vein. Pressure is then held on the vein until it seals shut.
VenaSeal procedures take about 30 minutes in total.
Varithena is a form of chemical ablation for treating varicose veins. The treatment works in conjunction with ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy. After mapping the veins with ultrasound, Dr. Rayman treats the veins with a tiny needle, injecting Varithena into the veins. The treatment usually requires only 30 minutes to complete.
ClariVein is a form of mechanochemical ablation, or MOCA. Using ultrasound, Dr. Rayman guides a narrow catheter into the problematic vein. When the catheter is aligned correctly, a wire at the tip of the catheter begins a rotating motion while the medication is injected into the vein.
Since the wire tip agitates the vein’s wall, the medication works more effectively. This combination seals the vein shut. The procedure is surprisingly uncomplicated and takes about 30 minutes.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) eliminates the source of varicose veins in the leg. For the procedure, Dr. Rayman uses an ultrasound to guide a small catheter into the affected area, which delivers radiofrequency heat energy to the vein walls.
The vein closes, stopping blood flow to the varicose veins. The procedure takes less than an hour to complete.
Endovenous Laser Treatment
Endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) eliminates the problem causing varicose veins. First, Dr. Rayman inserts a tiny fiber into the affected vein using ultrasound for guidance. Then, the fiber delivers energy to the vein, causing it to close. The whole procedure takes less than an hour.
The Best Varicose Vein Center in El Segundo, CA
You don’t need to suffer from varicose veins. At Beach Cities Vein and Laser Center, our specialized varicose vein center offers the expertise to diagnose and treat your varicose veins. Call or book an appointment online today to learn which treatment option is best for you!