Interventional Radiology Nonsurgical Outpatient Procedure
Treats Varicose Veins
Venous insufficiency is a very common condition resulting from decreased blood flow from the leg veins up to the heart, with pooling of blood in the veins. Normally, one-way valves in the veins keep blood flowing toward the heart, against the force of gravity. When the valves become weak and don’t close properly, they allow blood to flow backward, a condition called reflux. Veins that have lost their valve effectiveness, become elongated, rope-like, bulged, and thickened. These enlarged, swollen vessels are known as varicose veins and are a direct result of increased pressure from reflux. A common cause of varicose veins in the legs is reflux in a thigh vein called the great saphenous, which leads to pooling in the visible varicose vein below.
Prevalence of Varicose Veins and Venous Insufficiency
Chronic venous disease of the legs is one of the most common conditions affecting people of all races.
- Approximately half of the U.S. population has venous disease–50 to 55% of women and 40 to 45% of men. Of these, 20 to 25% of the women and 10 to 15% of men will have visible varicose veins.
- Varicose veins affect 1 out of 2 people age 50 and older, and 15 to 25% of all adults.