Varicose veins are not a life sentence

May 4, 2011

Varicose veins can crimp your style
Varicose veins can crimp your style

If you have varicose veins, come the August heat wave, you’re probably still in widow’s walk black to match the dark stockings hiding your legs. You envy women who romp barelegged each summer with tanned blemish-free legs extended from bright print dresses. You may still be barelegged in your early 20’s, but regarding your mother’s gnarled blue and purple veins with terror. If her legs are your future, you may be thinking, “best put off the career and find the husband now.”

These curly blue eyesores occur when valves inside your veins give way and blood pools, causing veins to stretch, leak, and eventually protrude. Crossing your legs cannot cause varicose veins, but if they run in your family, it can bring them out. Being overweight and standing for extended periods can also contribute and if you don’t exercise, weak legs muscles cannot move blood to the heart as efficiently.

The May issue of RealSimple.com advises that you prevent veins by working out (swimming and biking are best); wearing flats, which allow your calves to contract fully, and at the end of the day, sitting with your legs propped higher than your heart for 10 to 15 minutes to drain any pooled blood. You can also wear support hose if you legs ache and camouflage small veins with self tanner or body makeup.

Sclerotherapy, a safe time-tested procedure that involves little downtime, can get rid of your small veins. Your plastic surgeon or dermatologist will inject the offending veins with a solution that irritates their linings, causing the veins to close and disappear. Treatments range from about $250 to $500 a session and are usually not covered by insurance.

Larger veins are treated with endovenous laser ablation. Your doctor inserts a laser fiber or radiofrequency catheter into the damaged vein to destroy it. This onetime treatment costs about $5,000, but is generally covered by insurance. Both treatments can cause minor bruising.

Contact a board-certified plastic surgeon from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery for more information about vein removal. 


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

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