Venous reflux. Normally, one-way valves in the leg veins facilitate blood return to the heart when you walk and contract the leg muscles. Due to heredity, pregnancy, obesity, physical occupational risk (standing long periods), or aging, veins become less elastic and dilated causing the valves to malfunction. This causes the blood returning to the heart to leak downward (reflux). The superficial veins in the leg become tortuous and rope-like, leading to a variety of symptoms.
When venous reflux is mild to moderate, symptoms usually are leg heaviness, itchiness, night cramps, restlessness, and throbbing ache. When severe, you may also develop leg swelling, discoloration, chronic dermatitis, chronic ulcer, or bleeding.
Eczema, dark pigmentation, severe leg swelling associated with skin ulcers, intermittent bleeding, and rarely, blood clots. Skin ulcers may recur, with each episode requiring increasing time to heal, sometimes lasting months to over a year to close.
Endovenous (“inside the vein”) laser ablation is a non-surgical alternative to vein stripping. Through a tiny puncture in the skin, a catheter is advanced to the problem vein segment in the leg, and laser energy is delivered through the catheter tip. The vein segment is simply sealed and closed. The basic cause of the disease is thus taken care of, leading to improvement of venous reflux symptoms. Endovenous ablation can also be performed using radio-frequency energy.
Your problem veins that are refluxing already are not contributing positively to your leg circulation. Your leg already has normal veins that are helping the extra blood in the venous system to get back to the heart. When the faulty refluxing veins are closed by laser, the rest of your leg’s venous system works that much better because there is less inefficient venous return. Blood flow is actually improved by closing the abnormal, refluxing veins, and this translates into improved symptoms, i.e. relief of pain.