Ropey Vein

Once or twice a month we see a patient who has had a bleeding episode from a small varicose vein or from a spider vein. This can either be spontaneous or from a small cut.

It causes a tremendous amount of anxiety because it can bleed a lot and often ends with a visit to the ER. The bleeding usually stops before getting to the ER because the leg has been wrapped and elevated by the patient (or EMT). The ER team may either place a stitch, rewrap the leg or send the patient home without other treatment. The basic cause of the bleeding may not have even been addressed! Meanwhile, the patient may be afraid of it happening again - and often it does.

Causes and treatment

The primary cause is usually some tributary veins above the bleeding site that have incompetent valves and may originate from the saphenous (superficial) veins in the leg. There may be some bulging, dark blue veins in the area. Diagnosing the specific vein problem is easy with an ultrasound exam or transillumination of the superficial venous system.

Treatment can then be directed at the root cause with either thermal, microsurgical or chemical methods, depending on the findings.

Many insurance companies will pay for these treatments because it is safer for the patient and less expensive than a return to the ER.

If you are concerned about this problem, please be evaluated by an experienced vein specialist such as Dr. Griffin Coates at the Coates Vein Clinic. Call 520-839-8346 for an appointment.