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How common (or rare) are varicose veins in young boys?

By January 5, 2010 - 9:23pm
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Just a couple of days ago I noticed a large lump that clearly stands out on the back of my son's leg. It made me nervous because of its size in comparison to his body size -- about an inch and a half in diameter. I pressed on it a little and he said that it didn't hurt at all. Since it moved around when I touched it, I thought it might be a cyst. However, after a sonogram today, his pediatrician said it was a varicose vein and that blood had pooled there. She said that it wasn't life threatening, but that it would be good to have it surgically removed and has recommended two pediatric vascular surgeons here in Phoenix to consider.

Of course, I'm filled with questions.....how common is this? Is it hormone-related? (My son turns 15 in three weeks.) If not hormones, what causes varicose veins? Will he always have this condition? What are the problems if a varicose vein is left untreated? Are there any related conditions I should know about?

I really appreciate any insight!

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EmpowHER Guest

Slightly off topic due to gender but still relevant. I am a 26 year old female. I have had my great saphenous vein reflux on my left leg for about 15-16 years now. It created an ugly varicose vein on my calf. It made my leg ache and itch often. My grandma on my dad's side of the family has varicose veins. I just had endovascular laser therapy to close it, paid a good chunk of money to get it done in Canada and I am very happy I did it. Safest procedure out there with best results.

April 28, 2015 - 8:48pm
EmpowHER Guest

Happy to have found this question posted, my son is 17 and has a big vericose vein in his leg that actually hurts. We have been to a vascular dr and done the whole compression sock thing for months. Now the recommend Sclerotherapy( which our insurance will not cover). I think I am going to call the pediatric dr listed here and see what they say. Thanks for all the info posted.

September 25, 2014 - 7:34am
EmpowHER Guest

hi, this is very interesting that i have found this conversation about varicose veins, i am a 28 year old male and i have the same problem in my left leg, i have always had this varicose veins since i remember, i know that your son will have problems with that if he does not treat it but it wont kill him, also men with varicose veins down their legs tend to have them in their testicules too and that can be harmfull to the point of causing infertility, so i would check with him or have him check with his doctor if he has tht problem too, about his leg, if he keeps in constant movement the blood in that vein will flow better and he will not have a problem with it but if he stands in the same place often you might wanna have that removed because it will grow and in a couple years will cause him pain and disconfort.

May 17, 2012 - 6:44pm

see my blog:

for a good explanation about varicose veins and children

February 8, 2011 - 7:39pm
EmpowHER Guest

Thanks Pat. I will talk with his grand mother and ask her to take him to her doctor as she knows all about her side of the family's medical history :0)

September 7, 2010 - 6:04am
EmpowHER Guest

Hi there,
my name is Ruth and I have a 12 yo son. He is small for his age and has had different little problems with his health over the years. One thing I have noticed is that his legs are covered in veins. They are not varicose veins but they are dark, very visible and ALL OVER the lower half of his legs. His natural father died when I was expecting my son but I do remember that his father had large veins on his arms. His grand mother had some sort of problem with her legs as a younger woman and almost had them amputated but instead had extensive surgery and has had to swim or walk every day for the rest of her life to keep them working. Do you think that I should look into this?

September 6, 2010 - 2:55am
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Ruth - Yes, it would be good to talk to your son's pediatrician about the veins in his legs. Be sure to provide information about your family history as well. You can do this during his next check up. Thanks for looking out for your son's health. Let us know what you learn.
Take care, Pat

September 6, 2010 - 1:08pm
EmpowHER Guest

the vein causes the knee to swell when not wearing the stocking brace,looks like a bad,large birthmark,red. was there at birth

March 19, 2010 - 1:11pm


This is fascinating information! Thanks so much for writing me back!

It sounds like you've found the PERFECT doctor for your situation. Isn't that an amazing feeling? Especially when we're nervous about something and aren't sure about the answers. To feel like we're in the hands of a doctor (and a clinic) who knows everything there is to know about our situation is a huge weight off our shoulders.

The Mayo Clinic site has quite a bit of info on vascular malformations and their treatments. The treatments chosen generally reflect the complexity of the malformation itself. You may not know that until you have your appointment at the clinic (when is that, by the way?), but here's their info in case you do:


The Cincinnati Children's Hospital also has a page on this. Here's what they say about how vascular malformations are managed:

"Management of vascular malformations is dependent upon the type and location of the malformation as well as its depth. Observation and the use of supportive treatments (e.g., compression garments and drug therapy) are sometimes recommended. For lesions that are only superficial, laser therapy is commonly used. Lesions that are deep may, however, require surgical removal and other therapies such as sclerotherapy. While surgery is complex and was previously associated with the risk of blood loss, advances in technology now enable removal to be more safely performed. The management of combined vascular lesions is far more complex."


Here's a very informative page from the Vascular Disease Foundation; there are tabs across the top that say What is it?, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Glossary, FAQs and Resources:


And under Resources they have a few archived articles from their newsletter:


When you learn more from Dr. Lacey and the clinic, let us know what happens next. It sounds like there are various treatment options that may be appropriate for your son. Will you update us?
Did you know there's a National Organization for Vascular Anomalies? Their website says that one in 10 children is affected by some kind of vascular anomaly, which can include port wine stain birthmarks, hemangiomas, lymphatic malformations and others in addition to vascular malformations:


It looks like they're trying to start a blog and some support forums. Maybe something to watch in the future?

January 11, 2010 - 9:09am

Thanks for your great response, Diane! I really appreciate your time and research. Since it had been a couple of days since I asked my question, I was afraid you all had forgotten about me.

Today we consulted with a pediatric vascular surgeon and he had a bit of a different take from some of your info above. We went to see Dr. Stuart Lacey, who is an amazing surgeon. You can read and see photos from a surgery he performed last year to separate conjoined twins here: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/01/16/earlyshow/health/main4727080.shtml

In any case, he definitely knows his stuff, and we had a very informative meeting with him. He believes that my son most likely will not need surgery, which is a huge relief. He does want to do some additional testing to confirm this, though. In the meantime, he's referring us to the Vascular Malformation Clinic located within Phoenix Children's Hospital. Apparently, vein malformations like my son's are very common -- so much so that there's a need for an entire clinic dedicated to this condition at PCH. And I'd never heard of this before. According to Dr. Lacey, this is simply a vascular anomaly that my son was born with. There was no cause, like an injury or anything. He just has a malformed vein in his leg. He probably won't have a problem with this anywhere else in his body. Apparently there are several different treatment options that we'll learn about once we visit the clinic and meet with one of the specialists there. Dr. Lacey said that most likely the scenario will be that we'll either not have to do anything at all to treat the vein, or we'll choose to explore the various treatment options with the clinic.

Obviously, this is such a relief. Any kind of surgery sounds scary to me! I'm really hoping that we can find some kind of treatment to make the lump go away because it is definitely noticeable and kind of weird to think that it's a vein sack filled with blood. Although Dr. Lacey said that it won't cause any kind of a threat to my son, and that he can do all the sports and activities he wants to, it still seems like it would be a nuisance, especially if it continues to grow.

Thanks again for your response. If you have any other thoughts or come across any treatment options, please let me know!

January 7, 2010 - 9:58pm
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