Varicose Veins

Varicose Veins

What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are dilated (enlarged), elongated and tortuous sections of veins which are located just under the surface of the skin – usually on the leg. They are often easily visible, as they look thick and knobbly and generally blue or dark purple in colour. They may be less obvious if you are overweight, as they are hidden by fatty tissue under the skin.

Spider / reticular veins can often occur alongside varicose veins or can occur on their own.

How common are Varicose Veins?

About 3 in 10 adults develop varicose veins at some time in their life. More women develop varicose veins than men. Most people with varicose veins do not have an underlying disease and they usually occur for no apparent reason. Varicose veins do not cause symptoms or complications in most cases, although some people find them unsightly.

How do Veins work?

Veins contain one-way valves to prevent the blood from flowing back. When the valves become faulty the blood can travel back to the feet. This causes the veins that are near to the surface of the skin to enlarge and result in what is commonly called varicose veins.

What are the Symptoms of Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins may cause feelings of fatigue, heaviness, aching, burning, throbbing, itching and cramps in the legs. These symptoms are often accompanied by swelling of the ankle. Spider veins can also produce the same symptoms. These symptoms will usually be worse during warm weather or when you have been standing up for long periods of time.

What are the potential complications of untreated Varicose Veins?

Most people with varicose veins do not develop complications. Complications develop in a small number of cases when veins are left untreated. However, it is impossible to predict who will develop complications. The complications are due to chronic high venous pressure in the varicose veins resulting in changes to the skin around the ankle.

Possible complications include:

  • Inflammation of the vein (thrombophlebitis).
  • Swelling of the foot or lower leg.
  • Skin changes over the prominent veins. The possible skin changes are: discolouration, eczema, skin ulcers, or lipodermatosclerosis (hardening of the fat layer under the skin, causing areas of thickened, red skin).
  • Rarely, varicose veins may bleed.

Why should I have my Varicose Veins treated?

  • To ease unpleasant symptoms, like pain, cramps or discomfort,
  • To treat complications, such as skin discolouration swelling, bleeding, thrombophlebitis or leg ulcer,
  • To rid your legs of unsightly veins!  Get them looking like they were before…

What are the treatment options of varicose veins?

  1. Endovenous thermal ablation therapy
    • Endovenous Laser Ablation Therapy
    • Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation Therapy
    • Endovenous Thermal Ablation is also known ‘Laser Therapy’ or
  2. Endovenous Non-thermal Ablation
    • Pharmacomechanical Ablation Therapy
    • Venaseal Glue Ablation Therapy
  3. Microphlebectomy
  4. Ultrasound Guided Foam Sclerotherapy
  5. Microsclerotherapy
  6. Surgery for Varicose Veins (Ligation and stripping)

What are conservative treatment options of varicose veins?

  • Compression Stockings
    Compression stockings are designed to improve calf muscle pump and to reduce blood pooling in the leg. This will effectively minimize vein related symptoms
  • Weight Loss – Weight loss will lead to decrease in resistance of venous return to the heart and thus decrease venous pressure in the legs.
  • Leg Elevation – Elevating the legs above the heart will improve venous drainage from the legs. Reduction of venous pressure in the legs by reduction of blood pooling in the legs will help to improve symptoms from venous reflux.
  • Exercise – During exercise, the calf muscle pump will be activated, pushing blood in the deep veins towards the heart. Reduction of blood pooling in the legs will lead to decreased in venous pressure.