Relieving the Pain of Varicose Veins

For some patients, varicose veins are a cosmetic problem, but for others, they hurt.

Varicose veins are created when blood that is supposed to go to the heart, instead flows backward, pooling in leg veins.

Health experts say there is often no danger if they go untreated, but if they're swollen or tender you should talk to a doctor.

Now, a non-invasive procedure involving lasers and ultrasound is helping soothe sore legs.

The treatment is unlike traditional surgery where a vein is removed.

"We leave the vein in place, but we scar it down completely so that the blood that is going in the wrong direction because the vein isn't working right, won't go in the wrong direction anymore," explains Dr. Ross Milner at Emory University Hospital. "Patients come in, have a little bit of sedation before the procedure, have the procedure, they walk on a treadmill for a few minutes and then go home."

Doctors say it can take a couple of weeks before patients notice an improvement, and sometimes more than one treatment is needed.

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