Varicose Veins – What Happens When They Go Untreated?

If you’re one of the millions of people who suffer from varicose veins, you’ve probably considered getting treatment. Though the slightly more common than spider veins, which are generally harmless, varicose veins can sometimes lead to more serious issues in your future. What are some possible complications you should be aware of?

Though not all people with varicose veins experience any uncomfortable side effects, there are a few issues you should be aware of:

  • Pain. Many patients report aching pain, discomfort or restless legs. Sometimes, mild symptoms are managed with compressive stockings that give extra support to your weakened veins. However, increasing pain is often a sign of an underlying problem, so always see your doctor when new symptoms show up.
  • Stiff or discolored skin. The blood that leaks out from weakened veins causes inflammation in the surrounding tissue. This inflammation can cause your skin to darken, a process known as hyperpigmentation. Also, inflamed tissue with soon become stiff and tender, a condition called lipodermatosclerosis.
  • Venous ulcers. Poor circulation can cause tissue in your legs to die. When this happens open areas will form in your skin, leading to progressively deeper ulcers. These venous ulcers can lead to dangerous infections when left untreated.
  • Spontaneous bleeding. Since varicose veins are weak and tend to be close to the skin, even slight scratches can result in severe bleeding. Though many of these injuries are a mild inconvenience, the fact they can catch patients by surprise can lead to significant blood loss.
  • Thrombophlebitis. Damaged veins can lead to severe inflammation. Superficial thrombophlebitis usually results in tenderness and swelling, inflamed, reddened skin, and pain in the affected leg.
  • Deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis is a life-threatening emergency. Thrombosis refers to the formation of a clot inside your vein that is blocking the flow of blood. The symptoms include pain, hot skin, redness and swelling. If the clot breaks off, it can travel to the heart, lungs or brain. Patients who do not receive immediate treatment could suffer a fatal heart attack, stroke or pulmonary embolism.

What treatments are available?

Southtowns Radiology offers EVLA (Endovenous Laser Ablation) and Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) treatment options for the treatment of varicose veins, at our office in Hamburg, NY. EVLA treatment use laser heat energy collapse bulging veins, while RFA relies on radio waves for the same result. Either procedure will take 30-45 minute in our office and require little to no down time. This fast and safe procedure can eliminate varicose veins before they progress to a serious condition. Schedule an appointment today to find out whether EVLA or RFA is best for you, or contact us to learn about the many other services offered at our three locations in the Buffalo, NY region.