For 20 years, the physicians and staff of South Bay Vascular Center and Vein Institute have successfully treated tens of thousands of patients in the Silicon Valley communities of Los Gatos, San Jose, Campbell, Los Altos, Palo Alto, Morgan Hill, Gilroy and the greater South Bay. Our ABMS Boarded Vascular Surgeons are experts in the treatment of varicose veins and swollen legs and can help patients get their lives back by successfully treating these conditions.

Spider and varicose veins are a common problem that many men and women have to confront. Spider veins are small, reddish veins that appear on the surface on the skin, while varicose veins are blue, tangled, bulging, knotted vessels that are much larger. Women are more likely to experience varicose veins than men, but they are common among both genders.

Aside from their unsightly appearance, varicose veins can cause a feeling of heaviness or tiredness in the leg, swelling, tenderness or pain when touched, and a general sense of restlessness. Age and family history are two major factors in a person’s risk of varicose or spider veins, but lifestyle also has a role to play. People who do not exercise regularly, are overweight or obese, or who sit or stand for long periods of time have a higher risk of varicose veins and venous insufficiency. Women who are pregnant also have a higher chance of these issues.

Varicose and spider veins are most common among people who are middle­aged, but even those in their teens and twenties can have this problem. No matter what a person’s age, there is no reason to wait to have these issues examined.

Vein issues can occur if a vein becomes weakened. Elastic vein walls and tiny one­way valves help send blood back to the heart, but if they lose their strength blood can start to pool backwards into the vein. Varicose veins may not be symptomatic at first, but many patients eventually report achiness and a sense of heaviness in their legs. Often accompanying these symptoms are ankle and lower leg swelling, cramps, a sense of restlessness, and an irritated or itchy rash around the ankles. The area around the vein may become numb or tender to the touch.

Varicose vein symptoms can also be aesthetic. Bulging, twisted, or knotted veins can form over the ankle and foot while the skin around them becomes discolored, leathery, and thick. In advanced stages this skin may begin to break down, leading to ulceration.

Spider veins are similar to varicosities, but they are smaller and appear closer to the skin’s surface. As their name suggest, they often form in patterns similar to spider webs. They are often red in color and may be a sign of more serious ​vein disease​ under the skin

Varicose veins can lead to more serious conditions, including:
● Thromboses – blood clots that form in an enlarged vein
● Phlebitis – vein inflammation
● Venous Stasis Ulcers – Ulcers that form due to a lack of proper drainage in an enlarged vein

Lots of centers treat the complications of poor flow through the venous system when it shows up as spider veins, varicose veins, and other cosmetic issues. Fast cosmetic fixes, however, can often mask more serious underlying circulation issues that only a vascular surgeon is trained to address. At South Bay Vascular Center and Vein Institute our goal is simple: to ensure the best possible outcomes in the safest and most comfortable environment possible.

If you suffer from varicose veins, leg swelling, especially Left Leg Swelling, after cosmetic vein treatments, please call our office at 408-376-3626 to discuss how we can treat your varicose vein and other circulatory issues. We Can Help!


Leg swelling is a difficult symptom to diagnose. There is a long list of underlying causes for leg swelling and it is important to note two things:

1. Is the leg swelling unilateral (in one leg) or is it in both?

If it is in both, it is more likely to be a “systemic” issue, that is a problem with one’s general health. This can be something as simple as too much time in a chair, to something as serious as congestive heart failure. Many medications can also contribute to bilateral leg swelling as can liver disease, kidney problems, and obesity.

2. What part of the leg is swollen?

If the swelling extends into the foot, it is more likely to be lymphedema than a venous problem.

If it goes all the way up into the thigh it may be ​ Iliac Vein Compression ​or, if the onset of swelling is rapid, it may be the result of an ​ileofemoral blood clot​ (DVT).

It is important not to ignore leg swelling, especially if it comes on abruptly as it may be a sign of a serious and potentially life threatening issue.

Iliac vein compression syndrome occurs because of the anatomic compression of the left iliac vein between the lumbar spine and the right iliac artery. Although originally thought to be a rare syndrome, it is now believed that about 30% of all people have significant compression of their iliac vein. In most people, this is asymptomatic and will never cause a problem. However, it is being recognized that in more people who have chronic leg swelling, especially of the left side, continued aching despite treatment of superficial venous disease, recurrent left leg blood clots, and /or nonhealing ulcerations at the ankle or shin that this compression prevents the adequate drainage of blood from the leg. Although about 80% of the compressions are of the left iliac vein, we do sometimes find them on the right, especially as a result of scarring from pelvic or back surgery. This is the most common cause of ileofemoral DVT and should be worked up aggressively.

This is a special area of interest of ours, and we are active in doing clinical research to find better ways to diagnose and to treat iliac vein compression. Unfortunately, many physicians are unaware of these latest treatment options and tell their patients that not much can be done to treat this condition. Consequently, we find that way too many patients live with this painful and difficult condition of leg swelling and the non-healing wounds that often accompany it. There is hope.

We can help.

The physicians at South Bay Vascular Center and Vein Institute are board certified vascular surgeons and not “phlebologists” or “vein specialists”. As such we can do significantly more to treat generalized leg swelling and the leg swelling that often accompanies failed cosmetic vein procedures. Our surgeons are at the forefront of diagnosing iliac vein compression and leg swelling secondary to cosmetic procedures using regular vascular ultrasound. Most importantly, we can treat this painful condition with the newest endovascular techniques using IVUS (intravascular ultrasound) and stents in an outpatient office setting. To date, we have successfully treated over 75 patients in our outpatient angio suite here in Campbell, CA. If you suffer from leg swelling, especially left leg swelling there is hope. Please give us a call at South Bay Vascular Center and Vein Institute to schedule an appointment to discuss your treatment options. 408-376-3626


Varicose veins are raised, ropey, enlarged veins. They usually appear on the legs and can cause the leg to swell, itch, ache, and in severe cases, can cause ulcers. Normal vein valves close after blood travels up the vein, preventing blood from moving backwards (refluxing) down the vein. Varicose veins form when valves in the vein fail (become incompetent). Valves become incompetent for a variety of reasons, including trauma and pregnancy. Once a valve becomes incompetent, the vein below the valve is exposed to higher pressure and becomes dilated. This causes other valves to fail and other veins to dilate.

Varicose veins are dark blue in color and commonly appear on the backs of the calves or on the inside of the legs. But they can form anywhere on your legs, from your groin to your ankle. They protrude or bulge from under the skin and feel ropey. Varicose veins cause an achy or heavy feeling in the legs, and burning, itching, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in your legs. Prolonged sitting or standing makes your legs feel worse, while elevating your legs makes them feel better. Varicose veins can also cause skin ulcers near your ankle.


Both invasive and non-invasive methods are available to treat varicose veins. Non-invasive methods include wearing compression stockings, exercising, leg elevation, losing weight, not wearing tight clothes, avoiding long periods of standing or sitting and not crossing your legs while seated. Invasive treatments include endovenous therapy, ligation, and phlebectomy. Endovenous therapy is treatment from inside the vein using heat generated by lasers, radiofrequency devices or chemicals to irritate the vein walls and cause the vein to close and then be reabsorbed by the body. Ligation is tying off a vein to cause it to shrink. Phlebectomy is the term used for the removal of varicose veins.