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Varicose Veins & Venous Disease


Veins in the leg that become swollen and have disease or damaged valves are known as varicose veins. Veins can become varicose when the vein valves that regulate the direction of blood flow become damaged or diseased, weaken and no longer function properly.  Instead of blood moving toward the heart like it should, blood stays in place and pools in the vein of the leg.

Healthy leg veins have valves that keep blood flowing to the heart. Chronic venous insufficiency develops when the valves stop working properly and allow blood to flow backward (i.e. reflux) and pool in the lower leg veins. If chronic venous insufficiency is left untreated, symptoms can worsen over time.

Chronic venous insufficiency may cause the following symptoms in your legs:

  • Varicose veins

  • Spider veins

  • Aching

  • Swelling

  • Cramping

  • Heaviness or tiredness

  • Itching

  • Open skin sores (venous ulcers)

  • Restless legs


CVI, one of the underlying causes of venous ulcers, is a potentially serious and progressive medical condition.  Symptoms can worsen over time if left untreated.  Chronic venous insufficiency is 2 times more prevalent than coronary heart disease (CHD) and 5 times more prevalent than peripheral arterial disease (PAD).

  • Varicose veins may be more than just a cosmetic issue

  • Varicose veins are not the same as spider veins (visit our Spider Vein Treatment page to find out more about spider veins)

  • Varicose veins affect BOTH men and women



Often covering the legs, these damaged veins appear to be similar to varicose veins, only thinner. Often red or blue in color and appearing like thin spider webs or branches, these veins are closer to the skin surface and can spread; however, unlike varicose veins, spider veins are typically not raised above the skin’s surface.  Spider veins can be treated with sclerotherapy or laser treatment. Though spider veins may be associated with varicose veins or CVI, the issue is seen as cosmetic and treatment is generally regarded as elective.

Visit our Spider Vein Treatment page to find out more about spider veins.


CVI can affect anyone; gender and age are factors that may increase your risk.  For example, women older than 50 are more likely than others to develop CVI.  Other factors that may increase your risk, include:

  • Family history

  • Sedentary lifestyle

  • Trauma

  • Prolonged Standing

  • Obesity or excess weight

  • Current or previous pregnancies

  • Smoking



For mild forms of CVI, lifestyle changes may be recommended to control existing symptoms and prevent others. The following measures may help prevent varicose veins and CVI:

  • Manage body weight

  • Exercise regularly, focusing on exercises that work your legs (run or walk)

  • Elevate your legs whenever possible

  • Avoid prolonged standing or sitting

  • Avoid clothes that are tight around the waist, groin or legs

  • Avoid shoes that limit use of calf muscles (i.e., high heels)

  • Eat a diet low in salt and rich in high-fiber foods


Varicose veins are often misunderstood as a cosmetic problem and many people living with them do not seek treatment.  The good news is that there are minimally invasive treatment options available for varicose veins and CVI.


Dr. Lake's CVI solutions are designed to best meet your treatment preferences.

  • Endovenous ablation involves the insertion of a thin, flexible catheter into the vein to seal it shut by heating the catheter tip.

  • Phlebectomy is a mini-surgical treatment to remove small varicose veins from the legs.

  • Sclerotherapy procedures are performed to inject an FDA-approved chemical to close the diseased varicose vein or spider vein.


A treatment that involves the insertion of a thin, flexible tube called a catheter into the vein to seal it shut by heating the catheter tip or segment.  After the vein is sealed off, the blood is re-routed to other veins back to the heart.  The treated vein then dries up, shrinks and is absorbed by the body.  There are two types of available endovenous ablation treatments:

  • The ClosureFast™ procedure uses controlled and consistent heat to close the diseased vein.

  • The VenaSeal™ closure system uses a proprietary medical adhesive to close the diseased vein.


Phlebectomy is a mini-surgical treatment to remove small varicose veins from the legs.  Veins are removed through a series of small incisions in the leg and the procedure is performed under local anesthesia with minimal scarring.


Sclerotherapy is a varicose and spider vein treatment done under local anesthesia in which a drug is injected into affected veins.  The drug thickens the vessel walls, sealing them so that abnormal veins can then no longer fill with blood.  After successful treatment, the diseased vein will be absorbed by the body and blood flow will be rerouted to other veins.

For more information on these minimally invasive treatments and to understand which option may be right for you, visit Dr. Lake in the office for a consultation.