You may need varicose vein treatment and just don’t know it! If you’re experiencing persistent leg pain or chronic swelling in your legs, especially after standing for a long period of time, you may have invisible varicose veins. It’s true. Not all varicose veins form the “classic textbook picture” of a blue or red bulging vein visible right under the skin. In some cases, varicose veins develop deeper within the leg where they are not visible to the eye. In these cases, duplex ultrasound must be used to view them and map them out. Sometimes too, the color of a shallow varicose vein may be flesh toned and not as noticeable.
Invisible inner leg varicosities are not as common as visible classic varicose veins. However, they do occur and it’s important to be aware of this possibility so you’ll seek varicose vein treatment when you most need it. You should be watching out for this possibility especially carefully if varicose veins run in your family as they are quite hereditary. You are also at a higher risk if you are a woman. If your mother, grandmother, aunts, and older cousins have them, chances are you will too. Although it is not as common, men vet varicose veins as well, so if you’re male, try to get a sneak peak at your grandfather’s legs or our uncles’ legs and or talk to them about their medical history on this! This will give you a good idea if you are at a higher risk to develop them.
Some people may ask, “Why do I need varicose vein treatment if I can’t see my varicose veins?” The answer is that varicose vein treatment is not just about making your body look better! In fact, far more important is the prevention of complications that can come with untreated varicose veins. In fact, deep varicose leg veins that form clots can be far more dangerous than superficial varicose veins near the surface of the skin that form clots. This has to do with the way muscles and veins work together to return blood, against the powerful force of gravity, to your heart. Blood clots in surface veins tend to stay in place because the leg muscles press against them more and keep them attached to the vein wall. However, blood clots in a deep vein tend to break loose far more easily as the muscles do not exert as much force on deep veins. If a blood clot detaches from the vein wall and starts to circulate, it can be lethal if it ends up blocking the function of a vital organ like the brain or lungs.
Even if you have very visible varicose veins on your legs, you may also have invisible varicose vein branches. While the visible surface varicose veins can be treated with thermal ablation or ambulatory phlebectomy, also known as a mini phlebectomy, these procedures may miss the deeper invisible varicose vein branches. However, in the last fifteen years, tremendous improvements in varicose vein treatment have been made and doctors can now easily treat deep varicose veins very effectively right in the office with no hospitalization necessary. In fact, patients often return to work the next day after their varicose vein treatment!
One of the most popular varicose vein treatments for invisible varicose veins (deep varicose veins) is sclerotherapy. This varicose vein therapy involves injecting a chemical solution, called a sclerosant or sclerosing agent, directly into the vein. This sclerosant, which may be a liquid or foaming agent, causes the vein walls to collapse and the vein to “seal off” forcing blood to flow through healthier surrounding veins. Over time, the body simply reabsorbs the collapsed vein and recycles its components to form other body parts. Foaming sclerosing agents work particularly well on deep invisible varicose veins because the foam expands more extensively and completely replaces the blood in the vein.
Deep vein sclerotherapy is always done with duplex ultrasound which gives the doctor a three dimensional image of the entire vein, even if it’s deep and not seen through the surface of the skin. At the same time, the duplex ultrasound will show exactly how the blood is flowing through the vein system. This helps identify any blockages and or blood clots so the doctor knows exactly where to inject the foaming sclerosant. This type of varicose vein treatment is known formally as “duplex ultrasound guided sclerotherapy.”
If you think you may need varicose vein treatment on deep invisible veins, it’s best to trust only the best in the business. Go to a well established varicose vein medical clinic like one of the locations of the nationally recognized Metro Vein Centers and ask them for a free evaluation of your problem areas. Besides a visual inspection of your legs or other affected areas, they will perform a duplex ultrasound procedure to determine if you actually have deep varicose veins, and if so, which type of varicose vein treatment would work best given the condition and location of your affected veins.