Vein Disease

Varicose veins are the large unsightly blueish/green veins that are one of the main cosmetic side effects of venous reflux disease. These veins are usually what ends up bringing most of our patients in to the clinic for vein treatments.  For most people varicose veins are not just unsightly, but can cause a number of symptoms that can interfere with daily activities. At Southwest Vein & Leg Center of Fort Worth, we have various treatments options to treat the underlying issue of venous reflux disease, and the cosmetic aspects that can accompany those symptoms.

What Are Varicose Veins?

Our arteries send oxygenated blood out from the heart throughout the body to the tissues. The veins are the return highways, carrying deoxygenated blood back to the heart and lungs to be recirculated. In the legs, the veins have a serious fight against gravity and the valves within these veins plays a major role in getting the blood out of the extremities and keeps it from pooling in your feet, ankles, and calves. 

As we age, these issues may become even worse leading to the formation of varicose veins as the pressure continues to build in the lower legs.

How Do Varicose Veins Develop?

Genetics, Aging, pregnancy and even injury can all lead to the formation of varicose veins.

  • Family History – There is a genetic factor to the development of varicose veins.
  • Aging – As we age, our vein walls lose some of their elasticity. This not only allows them to stretch, but it also means they won’t move the blood as effectively. Our muscles that help push the blood weaken, as well.
  • Pregnancy – Some women develop varicose veins in pregnancy. This is because pregnancy increases the volume of blood in the body, but decreases the flow of blood from the legs to the pelvis. While this is good for the developing fetus, it’s bad for the appearance of the legs when varicose veins form. Varicose veins in pregnant women usually improve on their own from 3-12 months after delivery.
  • Sex – Women are more likely to develop varicose veins due to hormonal changes during pregnancy, pre-menstruation, or menopause.
  • Obesity – The added weight of obesity places more pressure on the veins in the legs and feet.
  • Occupations – Jobs that require prolonged standing or sitting inhibit blood flow in the legs and feet, enabling varicose vein development.

What Are Symptoms of Varicose Veins?

The appearance of Varicose veins is pretty universal— varicose veins are dark purple or blue. They appear twisted and bulging as if you have a purple cord on your leg. Not all varicose veins will cause pain, but they may.

These are the symptoms of those cases:

  • Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping, and swelling in the legs
  • Increased pain after sitting or standing for a long period
  • Achy or heavy feeling in the legs
  • Bleeding varicose veins
  • Itching around a vein
  • A raised, cordlike appearance that pushes the skin outward
  • Hardening of the vein, color changes, skin ulceration near the ankle, which is a sign of a serious form of vascular disease

Are Varicose Veins Dangerous?

Most varicose veins are simply a cosmetic nuisance. They can often be improved with exercise, elevation of the legs, or wearing compression stockings. But sometimes complications can arise from varicose veins. They are rare, but require medical attention.

  • Ulcers – Skin near varicose veins can form painful ulcers due to the long-term fluid buildup. This usually occurs near the ankles. A sign an ulcer is developing is a discolored spot on the skin.
  • Blood clots – If there are signs of swelling in the legs, there could be a blood clot in a deep vein in the leg. This requires immediate medical attention.
  • Bleeding – Varicose veins near the skin surface may burst. If this happens, medical attention is required.

How Are Varicose Veins Treated?

At Southwest Vein & Leg Center, our first treatment options for varicose veins are usually lifestyle changes: incorporating exercise, weight loss, elevating your legs whenever possible, avoiding long periods of sitting or standing, and the use of compression stockings.

If conservative management is not successful, we use a solution called Varithena to close off the vein chemically. With Varithena, the varicose vein is closed off and the body instantly re-routes the blood to healthier adjacent veins. Over the next several weeks to months the body begins to absorb and dispose of the now-unused, closed-off vein. Total absorption of the vein may take a few weeks to a few months.

Can I Drive After Varicose Vein Treatment?

With some of our varicose vein treatments, such as foam sclerotherapy(Varithena), you can drive yourself home afterwards. With endovenous laser ablation you cannot. We will tell you what you will be able to do during your consultation.

Will Insurance Cover My Varicose Vein Treatment?

Most insurance companies will cover the treatment of varicose veins if it is deemed medically necessary. The initial ultrasound mapping will help the physician determine if the varicose vein treatment is medically necessary or cosmetic.

Are you Ready to Get started?


Call 817.235.0769 to schedule your screening and see how Southwest Vein and Leg Center’s Venous Reflux treatments can improve your health and quality of life.


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