Varicose Veins of the Upper Extremity
In previous blogs we discussed the diagnosis, and treatment of varicose veins of the lower extremities. Varicose veins of the upper extremities are not often an issue, as there is little pressure exerted on the normal vein system of the upper extremities.
We have also discussed, in a previous blog, the question regarding noticeable hand veins. As mentioned, these are not truly varicose veins, but are more noticeable as result of the normal aging process.
However, there are times when varicose veins of the upper extremities occur. These are usually the result of a narrowing, or an obstruction of the vein blood flow return of the upper arm or chest. This can be the result of several possibilities.
One possibility is an anatomical abnormality which may cause pressure of the vein under the collarbone, causing a rerouting of the vein blood flow of the arm. As a result a vein pattern will be noticeable on the upper arm, and over the chest wall. The most common reason for this is a “thoracic outlet syndrome”, very often caused by a cervical rib. If this occurs in the dominant arm, the person may complain of fatigue of the arm limiting the ability to complete normal daily activities. Physical therapy may also be of benefit to strengthen the shoulder and chest muscles.
A second possibility may be as a result of a tumor in the chest, resulting in compression of the veins.
A third possibility, are in people who are undergoing chemotherapy treatment, who have had an access “port” placed in the vein leading into the chest.
As in all cases of varicose veins, the person who develops varicose veins of the upper arm should be evaluated to determine the underlying cause for the problem. Initially a venous duplex ultrasound will be performed, and if further evaluation is necessary, then an MRI is necessary to determine if there is an anatomical cause. If a blood clot is present, then standard treatment with anticoagulation therapy will be recommended. If there is no evidence of a blood clot, and an anatomical abnormality is found, then surgical correction may be necessary.
If you have any questions about varicose veins of the arms, please call NYC’s top varicose vein doctor Dr. Norman Chideckel at 212-993-6133, today.