Your arteries deliver blood from your
heart to the body while veins return the
blood back to the heart for re-oxygena-
In healthy veins, one-way venal valves
keep blood flowing up the legs against
gravity and into the heart for recircula-
tion. But when the valves inside the leg
veins become weakened and fail to close
properly, they allow blood to flow back-
ward. This condition is called reflux.
Veins that have lost their valve efficiency,
become stretched and elongated appear-
ing rope-like, thickened, and swollen.
These swollen, bloated vessels are known
as varicose veins and are the end result
of amplified pressure from reflux.
How Common are Varicose Veins in the U.S.?
- Chronic venous disease of the legs is one of the more common conditions affecting people of all races.
- Approximately one-half of all Americans are afflicted by venous disease.
- For women that means 50 to 55% and for men 40 to 45% are affected.
- Of this number, up to a quarter of the women and 15% of men exhibit visible varicose veins.
- Varicose veins plagues one out of two people age 50 and older, and nearly a quarter of all adults.
Symptoms of Varicose Veins
Symptoms of leg vein disease include obvious visual "snaking" of the leg veins, leg fatigue, and achy leg "heaviness", all of which get worse as the day goes on. Many find that they need to sit down and elevate their legs in the afternoon to alleviate the pain and symptoms. In advanced cases of vein reflux and venous insufficiency skin discoloration and ulceration may result. These cases may be very difficult to self-relieve. About one percent of adults over age 60 have chronic conditions known as ulcers.
May people have symptoms even without visible varicose veins. The symptoms can occur from leg swelling with deep varicose veins. Itching, burning, and heaviness also occur.
Assessment & Diagnosis
Riverwoods uses duplex ultrasound to assess your leg vein anatomy, venous blood flow changes, and vein valve function. All of this will assist our radiologists in diagnosing any venous insufficiency. Dr. Gibby or other radiologists map and study the greater and lesser saphenous veins and examine the deep and superficial venous systems to determine if the veins are open properly and will locate and identify any reflux present. All this helps to determine if the you are a candidate for a this minimally invasive treatment, known as vein ablation.
Vein Ablation Treatments
Reflux inside the great saphenous vein leads to blood pooling in the
visible varicose veins below. By closing the great saphenous vein, the
twisted and varicosed branch veins, which are close to the skin, shrink.
Vein Ablation is a minimally-invasive, outpatient treatment performed
at Riverwoods Imaging Center employing ultrasound imaging guidance.
The procedure is performed by injecting a local anesthetic around the
vein, and then by inserting a thin catheter, about the size of a spaghetti
strand, into the vein. He then guides the small catheter up the greater
saphenous vein in the thigh (see illustration). A laser is applied to the
inside of the vein, which cauterizes and closes the diseased vein. After
the diseased vein has been closed, other healthy veins take over to carry
blood from the leg, re-establishing normal, healthy blood flow back to the heart.
The result is an improved external appearance of the vein and leg, while relieving the painful symptoms associated with varicose veins.
Vein Ablation Procedure Benefits
- Vein Ablation patients typically experience a rapid return to normal activity with minimal or no pain.
- While there may be minor bruising or soreness, this can usually be treated with common over-the-counter medications.
- The procedure normally takes less than an hour to perform and provides rapid relief from symptoms.
- There are no stitches or scaring since the procedure does not require any surgical incision, just a small poke in the skin, about the size of a pen point.
- Vein Ablation has a high success rate and low recurrence rate compared to surgery, with success rates of over 98%.
Many insurance companies cover the Vein Ablation procedure, based on medical necessity for relief of symptoms. Contact our insurance department for further clarification at (801) 437-4895.
To schedule an appointment or to receive answers to any questions you have, please call us at (801) 229-2002.