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JAMA Patient Page
March 27, 2013

Treatment of Varicose Veins

JAMA. 2013;309(12):1306. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.1704

Varicose veins are a problem affecting the veins of the legs. The leg veins function in circulating blood back to the heart. When an individual has varicose veins, the veins do not work well, causing the blood to pool in the lower legs and feet. Symptoms include heavy, tired, or achy legs and, in severe cases, skin discoloration and sores.

The initial evaluation includes taking a history and performing a physical examination. A duplex scan, a type of ultrasound, is the most common and preferred test to evaluate the vascular system. A duplex scan is performed by a vascular technologist and allows doctors to look at the blood flow within veins. This is a painless test performed with a probe and the application of gel. This test is not needed in all patients, especially when there are no symptoms or they are mild. Laboratory blood tests are not needed in patients with varicose veins unless they have ulcers or a history of phlebitis or deep vein thrombosis.