Varicose veins treatment
Moonee Ponds - Malvern - Clayton - Gisborne
What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged, tortuous superficial veins. Varicose veins almost always result from valves not functioning properly. This results in blood flowing back from the deep system into the superficial system through the faulty valves. Varicose veins are not uncommon and may be present in up to 30% of the population.
How do Varicose Veins present?
For many patients, varicose veins pose no danger but can result in an unsightly appearance. At least 50% of patients are concerned primarily about the appearance of their legs.
In some cases they can cause discomfort with prolonged standing, itchiness, a warm prickly feeling or even vague tiredness.
The diagnosis of varicose veins can be made by examination of the leg and a duplex scan is often used to plan appropriate treatment.
Treatment is not always required. If varicose veins are troublesome to the patient or there is concern about their appearance treatment is available by either open surgery, endovenous laser or injection sclerotherapy.
Are there complications related to Varicose Veins?
Complications arising from varicose veins are uncommon.
Acute thrombosis can occur in vaircose veins as blood has a tendency to stagnate. This can result in a tender, painful lump at the site of the thrombosis (DVT).
Bleeding is a very rare complication. When it occurs it can cause an alarming amount of blood loss. Bleeding from varicose veins can be readily brought under control by elevation of the leg and direct pressure on the bleeding site with a compression bandage.
Leg swelling (oedema), skin changes (venous eczema) and soft tissue thickening (lipodermatosclerosis) can occasionally occur in patients with varicose veins. The emergence of these features usually indicates faulty valves causing reflux. If left untreated this can develop to a leg ulceration
Treatment Options for prominent varicose veins
Surgical treatment for varicose veins arising from the long saphenous requires ligation of the sapheno-femoral junction at the groin with the long saphenous vein removed from the groin to the knee using a vein stripper. For varicose veins arising from the short saphenous system the sapheno-popliteal junction is ligated behind the knee. The varicose veins are removed by "stab avulsions" via series of tiny skin incisions.
- Open surgery is performed at either John Fawkner Hospital Coburg or Cabrini Hospital Malvern
- General anaesthesia is required
- Overnight stay in hospital
- Compression stockings must be worn continuously for 2 weeks
Endovenous laser is a popular choice as it is done on site without the need for general anaesthesia
EVLT is a quick, minimally invasive laser procedure and can be performed at 59 Holmes Road Moonee Ponds. The treatment takes approximately one hour.
- Ultrasound to map out the veins
- Local anaesthetic is injected
- A thin laser fibre is inserted through a small 2-3mm incision usually near the knee
- Thermal energy is delivered to the inner lining of the vein causing it to occlude and subsequently shrink
- Walking immediately after the procedure is encouraged. Normal daily activity can be resumed (just avoid rigorous activities such as gym workouts)
There may be minor soreness and bruising. Any discomfort can be treated with over-the-counter, non-aspirin pain relievers as needed.
For minor varicose veins/spider veins, injection sclerotherapy may be sufficent. Sclerotherapy is a simple, effective method which involves injecting a sclerosant into the vein using a very fine needle. Each injection treats a small area. Sclerotherapy irritates the wall of the veins causing collapse and shut down. The effect is gradual with fading over the next 6 to 8 weeks.
How are varicose veins diagnosed?
The diagnosis of varicose veins can be made in virtually all cases with the examination of the leg. In order to determine which system is involved, a duplex scan (ultrasound) is useful in planning the appropriate treatment.