What should people with varicose veins know?

Varicose veins are extremely common; depending on which study one looks at, the incidence varies, but overall, about half the adult population get varicose veins and up to 80% telangiectasia / small spider veins.

The good news is that in most people varicose veins are unlikely to ever cause them harm and that treatment is not essential !

For those who need or want treatment, a variety of non-surgical options are available.

It is important that people undergoing therapy understand that veins recur.Treatment really, irrespective of method is control not necessarily cure.I regularly hear the following: “I had my veins treated but they have come back”.This is both correct and incorrect. Veins that are removed are gone. There are new veins, yes, but these are not the same ones. What is happening is that over time, and commonly, new varicose veins grow.We do not know the reason for this.I often tell my patients that “One cannot treat veins that have not developed as yet”.

On average it is about 7 years between having ones veins treated and them returning to a similar degree.

So the best thing to do after vein therapy is to have an early follow up at 3-6 months and then 1-2 yearly, so that if treatment becomes necessary, the treatment is much easier and less involved. In other words keeping them at bay.

There is little one can do to prevent the recurrence of veins.It is also not possible to predict who is more likely to redevelop varicose and/or spider veins or when.

Patients for whom discomfort is the main problem can wear support stockings or compression socks. Elevation of the legs may relieve symptoms.General advice includes: Regular exercise – however there is no real supportive evidence that this helps.Keeping ones weight under control may reduce symptoms but be aware that excessive weight loss can make ones veins more visible!

Of course if veins are of concern from a cosmetic point of view they can be treated regardless of whether they are producing any symptoms.

There are published guidelines re the management of venous disease. These are the NICE guidelines as stated below: Timing of treatment ranges from routine to urgent. If one has a bleeding varicosity this requires immediate attention. If a varicosity has bled or is likely to bleed again, this should ideally be treated in the next few days/week. If there is an ulcer, treatment should be planned in the near future. These ulcers tend not to heal unless the underlying venous disease is attended too. Routine, means that the veins should be treated but this can be is something that be planned at a convenient time.

Referral guidance for varicose veins from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)

Emergency—Bleeding from a varicosity that has eroded the skin

Urgent—Varicosity that has bled and is at risk of bleeding again

Soon—Ulcer that is progressive or painful despite treatment

Routine—

Active or healed ulcer or progressive skin changes that may benefit from surgery

Recurrent superficial thrombophlebitis

Troublesome symptoms attributable to varicose veins, or patient and doctor feel that the extent, site, and size of varicosities are having a severe impact on quality of life

 

Also worth noting the following:

People are often reluctant or nervous to seek treatment as they do not wish for an operation or have heard about unpleasant experiences form others. Treatment these days is restively non-invasive and well tolerated with little if any downtime.

It one has concerns it is worth exploring. One does not necessarily require therapy and may just need reassurance. If treatment is warranted the individual situation can be assessed and discussed. Mostly fears about treatment are inappropriate and can be allayed by explanation and reassurance

Also remember that leg pain can be due to other reasons such as referred pain from the back. Careful history and examination will usually sort this out.

At Specialist Vein Care, Dr. Ivor Berman and his staff are specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of vein disease, utilising minimally invasive procedures.  We can discuss your particular venous issue, discuss options and create an individualised treatment plan if required.

To make an appointment today to have your venous disease assessed by Dr Berman, please phone 9561 5155.

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Specialist Vein Care in Melbourne
provides state of the art techniques in the diagnosis & treatment of varicose & spider vein diseases