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Published on December 04, 2018

An illustration of a normal vein vs. a varicose vein

Get a leg up on varicose veins

Varicose and spider veins may simply be an eyesore for some, but for many people varicose veins can cause achy or painful legs, blood clots, swelling, bleeding and open sores.

Alexander Wade, MD

Alexander Wade, MD

"Normally, one-way valves in the vein push blood up and out of the legs to the heart. When these valves don't function properly, blood pools, pressure builds, and the veins become weakened, enlarged and twisted," explains surgeon Alexander Wade, MD, Gundersen Viroqua Clinic, who is the only surgeon in the Viroqua area treating varicose veins.

Symptoms and treatments

The symptoms can be as obvious as bulging veins, leg pain and sores that won't heal. But symptoms can also be less apparent.

"You might experience heaviness, swelling or dull aching pain in your legs," Dr. Wade explains. "People don't always realize the problem may be varicose veins. That's why we encourage patients to talk with their doctor even if they have just a little discomfort."

Treatment options

Treatment for varicose veins varies, but may begin with the simplest options, such as wearing compression stockings, elevating the legs and taking over-the-counter pain relievers, according to Dr. Wade. If greater relief is needed, other treatment options include:

  • Endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) – One of the best treatments for medium-to-large straight varicose veins. In this minimally invasive outpatient procedure, laser energy is used to close off the faulty vein. Deprived of its blood supply, the vein collapses, shrinks and eventually disappears. Blood circulation is diverted to surrounding healthy veins. The procedure immediately improves symptoms and appearance, with virtually no downtime and excellent long-term results.
  • Sclerotherapy – Used to treat spider veins and small- to medium-sized varicose veins. Tiny injections promote internal scarring to close the vein.
  • Phlebectomy – A procedure in which big, twisty varicose veins are removed through small incisions. The treatment may be performed in conjunction with EVLT.

To find out more about treating your varicose veins, schedule an appointment with Dr. Wade at the Gundersen Viroqua Clinic by calling (608) 637-4081.

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Every day, Gundersen Health System staff deliver great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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