09.08.15 Dr. Garth Rosenberg DVT

Varicose Veins Increase DVT Risk

I read an interesting article in an orthopedic journal recently highlighting the risk to patients with untreated varicose veins undergoing total joint surgery. The authors cited an increased risk of blood clots in these patients who had total hip replacements. In his judgement, treatment of the varicose veins prior to hip surgery was preferable.

Patients with varicosities have backflow in these veins, due to one way vein valves that are not functioning properly. As gravity pushed downward, the flow in the veins goes in reverse, and the veins enlarge, often causing symptoms of aching, heaviness and pressure, In fact, often knee and ankle pains, thought to be joint issues, resolve once the veins are treated.

I have been surprised how many patients who are scheduled to undergo knee arthroscopy or joint injections actually no longer need these procedures once the varicose veins are eliminated. The normalization of vein flow often reduces the leg symptoms so much that nothing else is needed. I see the same in some patients with restless legs, and medication for this condition can be eliminated if varicose veins are treated.

Not all patients with varicosities need treatment, and the decision is often guided by symptoms and ultrasound information. If treatment is advised, you should know that the procedures (such as Venefit and micro-phlebectomy) are office based, under local anesthesia, and allow immediate return to normal activity.

Be sure you seek the advice of an experienced physician with an expertise in venous disease. Many doctors deem themselves "experts" in vein treatment, but careful research can show you that they have limited experience in this field. The American Venous Forum is a good medical society to guide you in this research.

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