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About Venous Disease

The Vascular Surgery Program at UI Health is a multidisciplinary team of surgeons, interventional radiologists, nurses, and patient navigators who work together using the most effective tools to diagnose and treat venous disease.

Varicose veins, spider veins, and other vascular conditions can affect anyone. Our vein specialists have experience managing cases that range from simple to complex. They’re dedicated to providing state-of-the-art treatment options to deliver the best outcomes and improve quality of life.


Veins normally return blood from the body to the heart. The leg veins have one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing backward in the vein. However, when the valves are weak or damaged, blood becomes backed up in the veins. This is called venous disease, or venous insufficiency. This may cause some of the veins to swell and bulge; they may appear blue or purple in color and may bulge, twist, and stand out under the skin. This is a chronic condition that may signal a higher risk of circulatory problems and is more than just a mild irritation. It should be treated as soon as possible to help avoid it from becoming worse.

Venous disease presents itself with leg discomfort and physical changes to the legs' appearance. While there is not one specific cause of venous disease, there are various risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing the condition.

Risk factors for venous disease:

  • Age (50+) 
  • Being a woman 
  • Being overweight 
  • Pregnancy 
  • Sitting or standing for long periods 
  • Family history 
  • Inactivity 
  • Muscle weakness  

Symptoms of Venous Disease

  • Legs that feel tired, achy, heavy, or itchy 
  • Leg muscle cramps 
  • Skin changes - discoloration, dryness, redness, or rash  

Diagnosing Venous Disease

A vascular sonographer will perform an ultrasound to identify venous disease. From there, the vascular surgeon and sonographer will map out the deep and superficial venous systems to create a unique treatment. Our vascular experts work together with the goal of providing a long-term, effective treatment.