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Venous Disease

Varicose veins, blood clots and other conditions of the venous system.

Venous Disease

Veins can be classified as either superficial or deep. Superficial veins tend to be those that are easily seen or felt on the skin surface. Deep veins, as their name indicates, tend to be those veins deep within the body. These are relatively large in size and are associated with conditions such as DVT (deep vein thrombosis). There is overlap between the two classes of veins and conditions in one can affect the other.

Superficial vein procedures

Endovascular treatment of varicose veins – Enlarged veins of the extremities can be unsightly and cause symptoms such as pain, itching and heaviness. Treatment of varicose veins is typically performed by using a medication or laser within the vein to scar it down, reducing its size and appearance. 

Sclerotherapy – In small spider veins and telangiectasias, a medication is injected directly into the vein to reduce or remove the vein.

Phlebectomy – Complete removal of a varicose vein using minimally invasive techniques.

Deep vein procedures

Thrombectomy – Thrombectomy is a procedure in which blood clots are removed. Not all blood clots require thrombectomy, as medications that help the body dissolve clots can also be used. However, in some situations, such as severe symptoms or when there is concern for long term consequences of large blood clots, thrombectomy can be performed. Following thrombectomy, patients are placed on blood thinners for a variable amount of time, however symptoms typically improve more rapidly and there is decreased risk of severe long-term effects when only blood thinners are used.

Venous recanalization/stenting – Deep veins can close off for various reasons. When this happens, symptoms such as swelling, pain and fatigue can occur. The most common causes are blood clots and compression by surrounding structures. Recanalization procedures are used to reopen the closed veins, leading to improvement or resolution of symptoms. Given the structure of veins, stents are often needed to keep them open following recanalization, although these are only used when absolutely necessary.

IVC filter placement and removal – IVC (Inferior Vena Cava) filters are used in very specific situations. In general, they are used when there is concern that blood clots from the legs could travel to the lungs or other places and blood thinning medications are not able to be given or are not effective. We recommend that if no longer needed IVC filters be removed. While removal within weeks or a few months after placement is typical, IVC filters can be removed even if they have been in place for decades.   

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