As a Cross County Cardiology vein specialist, I often encounter patients whose varicose veins have gotten so bad that they can barely walk. They have chronically swollen legs and ankles, have stopped exercising and doing things they enjoy like playing sports or dancing, and instead sit around much of the time saying “My legs hurt.” When I ask why they haven’t sought treatment from a New Jersey vein specialist earlier, they often respond, “Well, I didn’t want to have cosmetic surgery.” This article is to explain to such people that varicose veins and other forms of vein disease are NOT “just a cosmetic problem,” and that having them treated is NOT what they think of as “cosmetic surgery.”
OK, varicose veins are unattractive, but their real danger is hidden
First, for those who have varicose veins and their smaller cousins spider veins, they are ugly, and thus they really are a cosmetic problem for many people. Who wants to look in the mirror and see their legs covered with swollen, discolored veins? So if your legs do look like this, you may do what many people do and wear long pants or dark stockings to hide them. So in this sense, vein disease does have a “cosmetic” side. We all want to look our best, and if you have varicose veins, you don’t – simple as that.
But it’s what the varicose veins are doing to your health below the surface that is really ugly, and that makes vein disease much more than a “cosmetic problem.” In most cases, varicose veins are caused by a vein disease called chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), in which the tiny, one-way valves that control the pumping of blood back to the heart and lungs become damaged, and fail to close properly. The result is that blood flows “backwards” back into the veins and pools there, causing them to swell and take on the bluish-purple color of deoxygenated blood. This creates increased pressure on the veins of your legs, increasing your blood pressure and elevating your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. It also cripples your circulatory system and weakens your immune system, increasing your risk for obesity and diabetes.
As CVI weakens your physical health, it also impacts your sense of self-confidence and well-being. Who, after all, can feel “good about themselves” when looking in the mirror at varicose veins that are becoming larger every day? It is not unusual for people with varicose veins to become clinically depressed, and to develop patterns of social isolation, avoiding friends and family because of their appearance.
Why varicose vein removal is not “cosmetic surgery”
Technically, modern vein removal procedures such as sclerotherapy and endovenous laser therapy (EVLT) are not surgery because they require no deep incisions or general anesthesia. These procedures are so painless and minimally-invasive that they don’t even require you to go to a hospital – you can literally have your varicose veins eliminated in our offices on your lunch hour, and then go back to work.
There IS a strongly cosmetic aspect to this vein removal, however, because after your treatments the varicose veins will be GONE, forever. The techniques we use close the diseased veins so that they can be absorbed, allowing healthier veins take over the task of routing blood back to your heart. Within a few days the bulging veins will likely be gone, and you can finally get those shorts and short skirts out of the closet and start wearing them again. But the reason we use these treatments is that they improve your overall health. Within a few days, you’ll lose the tiredness and weakness you have felt in your legs, and you’ll regain levels of energy that you thought were lost forever.
So how do I find out more about vein removal (for health reasons or cosmetic reasons)?
That’s simple – just pick up your phone and call Dr. Segovia at 201-299-4479 or go online to schedule. He and his staff at the vein center at Cross County Cardiology will schedule an appointment in which they will ask you about your medical history and perform some painless, non-invasive tests, and afterwards they’ll sit down and discuss the results with you. If you don’t have vein disease currently, they can give you diet, exercise, and lifestyle advice to help you prevent it. If you do have vein disease, they can explain the different treatment options and help you to choose which ones are best for you. But the most important “first step” is to make that phone call and schedule that first appointment. After that it’s all easy, because you’ll have one of the best vein doctors in New Jersey working for you.