Varicose veins are a disorder of the circulatory system, affecting more than 70 million people across the US and Europe. When veins become varicose, the valves in the saphenous vein located in our legs no longer close properly causing Venous Valves Incompetence. This causes the blood to flow backwards instead of toward the heart, where it is replenished with oxygen to continue its circulation through the body. This “pooling” of the blood caused by blood flow in the opposite direction is also known as “reflux disease” and leads to enlarged veins and their corresponding medical and cosmetic issues.
The prevalence of varicose veins is highly correlated to age and gender, with more men and women affected by the time they are in their 60s and women making up over 60% of those affected. Indeed pregnancy, as well as family history and obesity believed to be risk factors. More than 70% of patients with varicose veins suffer from reflux in the great saphenous vein (GSV), which runs the length from the foot to groin and together with the short or lesser saphenous vein make up the principle vessels of the superficial venous system in the leg. Primarily responsible for returning blood back to the heart, the GSV is considered to be the main underlying cause of varicose veins and is therefore the most commonly treated.