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Varicose Vein Causes, Screenings, and Treatment

More than 25 million Americans suffer from varicose veins. Besides being unsightly, they can also be unhealthy.

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute at UPMC Hamot treats varicose veins and gets you back to feeling like your old self.

What Causes Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins form when the one-way valves inside the veins don't work as they should. The valves can't help bring blood back up through the legs and to the heart.

Because of this, the blood will start to pool and pressure will build up.

Without treatment, varicose veins can lead to:

  • Twisted, enlarged, and painful veins.
  • Aching.
  • Skin ulcers.
  • Discolored skin.
  • Blood clots.

Varicose Vein Screenings

If you suspect you have varicose veins, we can do a screening to learn:

  • If your veins are properly working.
  • Your risk for varicose veins.
  • Which vein is the cause of the problem.

The screening takes about five minutes and involves pulling up your pant leg. As you're standing, we check your veins with an ultrasound.

The UPMC Hamot Heart and Vascular Institute offers free screenings at various health fairs, expos, and classes.

How Do You Treat Varicose Veins at UPMC Hamot?

Endovenous thermal ablation, or EVTA, is a non-surgical outpatient treatment for vericose veins.

When you come to UPMC Hamot for care, our experts will:

  • Assess your varicose veins.
  • Order tests to learn how severe your disease is.
  • Decide if EVTA is the right treatment for you.

What to expect with EVTA for varicose veins

This almost painless procedure:

  • Takes about one hour.
  • Uses heat energy.
  • Closes the vein that is the source of the varicose vein.
  • Seals shut the blood flow of the faulty vein.
  • Automatically routes the blood to other veins in the leg.
  • Requires little to no downtime.
  • Makes it unlikely the treated veins will become varicose again.
  • Offers long term results in most people.