While many of us just think of varicose veins as unsightly, they can be the trigger that leads to more serious medical issue... even causing hard to cure ulcers under the skin.
The issue is venous ulcers. According to Freeman Wound Care Physician Joseph Newman, it starts with a leaking vein in the legs. "Which causes increased pressure in the legs and it actually causes the red blood cells to leach out of the veins. And that's what causes what causes the discoloration and makes the skin more fragile and makes it more likely to break down and form a wound."
And that venous ulcer can take months to heal. Past treatment included invasive surgery. But a newer option called radio frequency venous ablation is much less intrusive. "What it does is it targets those veins and the probe that is inserted. And it heats up and it actually causes the protein in the vein to cut off the refluxing vein. So you're not developing that head of pressure that allows that wouldn to heal more completely."
And while the vein is closed off, Dr. Newman says other veins will recirculate the blood. "So it doesn't really interrupt your blood flow."
The procedure genererally involves local anesthetic with just a couple of small incisions and a quick recovery. "And you want to wear some compression stocking when you're done but we want you back at full activity the next day."