Venenzentrum Zürcher Oberland AG - Zentralstrasse 21 - 8623 Wetzikon - telephone +41 (44) 552 30 00

Where do varicose veins come from?

image veins vs varicose veins

In healthy veins leaflet valves, that open and close, allow blood to flow back to the heart against gravity forces. (So these valves prevent blood from flowing backwards).

If these valves fail to close properly, a damaging backflow (reflux) occurs which leads to a backlog of blood in the veins of the leg. The veins widen, elongate and dilate and take a wriggled shape to form the characteristic shape of a varicose vein.

Over the time the permanent pressure of the blood reflux leads to an increased outlfow of liquid, protein and blood cells into the surrounding tissue.This causes the skin to swell, harden and turn brownish, in particular in the region above the ankle joints.

In severe cases skin and fat tissue is so much under-supplied with blood that this leads to an „open leg“ (lat. ulcus cruris). Therefore the ultimate objective of any therapy is to avoid the malicious venous reflux of the blood.

The occurence of varicose veins is a desease that is genetically inherited. Clinical tests of 10-12 year old children have shown, that 2.5% already suffer from a reflux, which means, that the leaflet valves within their veins, which transport the blood back to the heart, do not properly shut. Amongst the 29-30 year old probands 20% suffer from a reflux, but with visible mutations delayed. However, not all persons with a diagnosed reflux develop varicose veins. Additional factors that support the creation of varicose veins are age, sex (women are affected more often), pregnancy, obesity and lack of exercise.

varicose veins
varicose veins

varicose veins hyperpigmentation


varicose veins before after
varicose veins before after therapy

The intention of all therapies is, to avoid the reflux, either by classical operation (crossectomy and stripping) or by applying one of the endovenous methods that degenerate the malicious vein which, in turn, degenerates.