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Varicose, spider veins: Nuisance or chronic medical issue?

Varicose veins are not pretty. But it is the symptoms that go with them that may point to a medical condition called Chronic Venous Insufficiency.

“The varicose veins are blue, red or flesh colored engorged veins that twist or bulge above the skin,” said Arun K. Karsan, M.D. “It’s not just a cosmetic problem; if you leave it untreated, it can lead to chronic venous insufficiency. This happens when the valves in the legs no longer function. Blood pools into the leg and into the veins. That is why the veins begin to bulge.”

Dr. Karsan, a local cardiologist with Rapides Cardiology and Vascular Clinic, recently began treating varicose veins in his office with endovenous RF ablation.

“It is a minimally invasive treatment that is covered by many insurances in the case of chronic venous insufficiency,” stated Dr. Karsan. “For most patients, treatment takes about 40 minutes and offers a quick return to daily life.”

Endovenous RF ablation uses ultrasound technology to locate the precise vein in the leg – and then, radiofrequency energy to shrink the vein walls and seal the vein closed. Once the damaged vein is closed, the symptoms and signs should improve.

At first, most patients with varicose veins will try compression stockings for several months to relieve symptoms of leg/ankle swelling, leg pain, leg fatigue and restless legs.  If that does not work and the circulation problems are left untreated, those symptoms can progress to skin damage, discoloration and skin ulcers.

“Many people don’t seek treatment,” Dr. Karsan stated. “Thirty million people in the United States have varicose veins, and of those, 1.9 million get treated. Of those who seek treatment, one-third are male and two-thirds are female.”

Those most at risk for varicose veins and/or chronic venous insufficiency include:

  • Family history
  • Women who are or have been pregnant
  • Standing occupations such as teachers, nurses, cashiers
  • Obesity
  • Increased age

“Patients can come into the office to be screened for Chronic Venous Insufficiency,” Karsan said. “Anyone with varicose veins should consult a specialist. This is something that has been overlooked for many years. We as physicians have failed to recognize and treat it. In the past, other treatment options were more invasive and required more recovery time. Now, vascular ablation is a cure.”

To find out if you are a candidate for vascular ablation, call 442-PUMP.

Click here for self-assessment



The Rapides Rapides Cardiology and Vascular Clinic will host a FREE screening on June 6. Simply fill out the online varicose vein screening, and then call 442-PUMP to schedule your free screening.

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