Varicose veins are enlarged and twisted rope-like veins that appear near the surface of the skin. While they can develop anywhere in the body, they are most commonly found in the legs and ankles because standing and walking increase pressure in the lower extremities. In normally functioning veins, tiny one-way valves open as blood flows toward the heart and close to prevent blood from flowing backward. When these valves malfunction, blood pools in the veins, resulting in a buildup of pressure that weakens their walls and causes them to bulge. Over time, the increased pressure can cause additional valves to fail. This venous reflux, or venous insufficiency, leads to the development of varicose veins and spider veins.
Spider veins (telangiectasias) are similar to varicose veins, but smaller and found closer to the skin's surface. They take their name from their appearance, which resembles a spider’s web. Usually red or blue in color, they vary in size and can be found in other areas of the body besides the legs, including the face.
Unavoidable underlying causes of chronic venous insufficiency that can lead to varicose veins and spider veins include an inherited genetic predisposition and the normal aging process. Any condition that puts more pressure on leg veins – including standing for long periods of time, being overweight, or pregnancy – can also cause varicose veins or spider veins. Women are at greater risk than men due to hormonal changes that relax vein walls during pregnancy, pre-menstruation or menopause. Birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy may also increase the risk, as do a history of blood clots and conditions that increase pressure in the abdomen, such as tumors, tight garments like girdles.
Varicose veins and spider veins appear most commonly between the ages of 30 and 70. The first physical symptom is usually their appearance. As the disease progresses, the legs begin to feel heavy, tired and achy, and these symptoms worsen with prolonged periods of sitting or standing. Muscle cramping may be accompanied by a burning and throbbing feeling in the lower legs. Varicose veins can also cause a change in skin color (known as stasis pigmentation), dry and thinning skin, inflammation of the skin, open sores and bleeding.
As bad as they may look and feel due to lack of knowledge, varicose veins and spider veins are often considered cosmetic and not a serious medical problem. However, varicose veins may indicate a critical blockage in deeper veins, a condition called deep vein thrombosis, that can be life threatening. Consequently proper medical evaluation and treatment of varicose veins is important. Because chronic venous insufficiency is a progressive disease, symptoms will worsen if left untreated.
The evaluation includes a visual and physical examination of the legs and feet by the doctor, who checks for inflammation, areas that are tender to the touch, changes in skin color, ulcerations and other signs of skin breakdown.
In most cases an ultrasound test is ordered to determine if the valves in the veins are functioning properly and to check for evidence of a blood clot.
If symptoms persist and treatment is required, additional tests are performed to determine the best approach for curative treatment. For decades the only option was the in-hospital surgical ligation and stripping of the veins under general anesthesia. Today’s alternatives include less invasive procedures like endovenous laser treatments, mini phlebectomy and sclero therapy. Varicose veins that have been treated with laser therapy are very unlikely to become varicose again. However, it’s important to note that new veins are still susceptible to developing varicosities.
Bulging, unsightly and painful, varicose veins are eliminated via endovenous laser ablation (EVLT). Our TV1470 & Venacure 1470 has been proven highly effective for the treatment of venous reflux disease with a reported 95–97% success rate at a 12 month follow-up. Procedures are covered by Medicare and most insurances!
There are a number of treatment methods used to treat spider veins. One method employs a laser that applies energy to the surface of the skin using a special hand piece. Another treatment is sclerotherapy, which involves injecting a solution into the vein. Many times, a combination of both treatments can be used for optimal results.
Ned K. Majid, MD, FACS Cardiovascular Thoracic Surgeon, Board Certified
Voted Top Doctor/New Jersey Magazine, 2007 & 2009.
Dr. Ned K. Majid is a cardiovascular thoracic surgeon with over 25 years of experience operating on hearts, lungs, and blood vessels. He has been featured repeatedly in New Jersey Monthly magazine’s list of "Top Doctors," which recognizes doctors in each specialty. Dr. Majid is primarily focused on the treatment of vein disorders, varicose veins, leg ulcers, and spider veins. Dr. Majid is a diplomat of the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery. He is also a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the American College of Phlebology.
Previously, Dr. Majid served as chief of cardiac surgery at St. Mary’s Hospital (formerly Passaic General) in Passaic, NJ.
President of the medical staff, chief of surgery, and a board member at Barnert Hospital in Paterson, NJ. He has also served as associate clinical professor at Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ, for the last 20 years. After graduating from medical school, Dr. Majid completed his residency in general surgery at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. He performed cardiovascular and thoracic surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, and did his fellowship in pediatric cardiac surgery at Deborah Heart and Lung Center in Browns Mills, NJ.
As a major in the U.S. Air Force, Dr. Majid served as thoracic surgeon to the European command based in Wiesbaden, Germany, and received a medal commending his service in the armed forces. Today, Dr. Majid keeps current with all the latest techniques in the treatment of vein disorders and is affiliated with St. Mary’s Hospital, Mountainside Hospital (Montclair, NJ), and St. Joseph’s Hospital (Paterson, NJ). Patients from all walks of life have been treated by Dr. Majid, and refer their friends and family to his practice. Their testimonials tell how painful, unsightly veins have been treated successfully under Dr. Majid's expertise and care.
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