What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are large, swollen veins that can bulge above the skin’s surface. They are most commonly found on legs and feet. Varicose veins are thought to be caused by faulty valves in veins which stop the blood from flowing efficiently. Varicose veins can sometimes cause swelling, aching and discomfort, however a number of invasive or non-invasive treatments are available.
These treatments are usually performed by a Phlebologist, who are medically qualified doctors that have specialised in the treatment of venous diseases.
For Medicare to cover the costs of treatments, the varicose veins must be larger than 2.5mm in diameter. Medicare will not pay for treatment of smaller “cosmetic” veins.
How to prevent Varicose Veins?
Although there is no way to completely prevent varicose veins from occurring, there are some simple ways to reduce the likelihood of them developing. In general, a number of lifestyle changes can be made to help prevent varicose veins in the future such as: – Regularly exercising – Avoid sitting for long periods of time – Avoid high heels – Maintain a healthy weight / diet
What is the modern technology used in treating Varicose Veins? If your varicose veins are causing you pain or you are concerned with the appearance of them a number of treatments are available. At Specialist Vein Care we use a range of treatments incorporating more traditional methods as well as treatments using the latest technology.
In many less severe cases varicose veins can be treated with self help mechanisms such as elevation of limbs, avoidance of sitting or standing for long periods of time, exercise and weight loss. Compression stockings/socks may be used to treat and relieve the symptoms of vein disease and this may be all that is required.
When required we also use several more advanced and modern treatments:
Any prospective treatment is individually tailored to a particular patients situation/needs.
Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA)
Endovenous Laser Ablation therapy or laser vein treatment involves a small skin puncture being made with a laser probe. The laser fiber gets passed up the vein under ultrasound guidance. The vein is next surrounded by a column of anaesthetic. The laser fiber is activated and slowly withdrawn, destroying the vein.
EVLA is very effective for treating larger veins and does not require admission to hospital or anaesthesia. This means no time needs to be taken off work and you can continue with your everyday activities.
EVLA is reasonably new treatment that has been in use since around 2001, often showing better results than traditional varicose vein surgery.
Ambulatory Phlebectomy (AP)
Ambulatory Phlebectomy, is a surgical procedure performed under local anaesthetic. A tiny skin incision is made and a section of the vein is removed.
This method of vein therapy has been around for hundreds of years and almost all sizes of veins can be treated with this method.
Medical Adhesives are an exciting new addition to the current methods of non-surgical treatments of varicose veins already available. Medical adhesives are essentially medical grade ‘superglues’ used to treat varicose veins. The vein will immediately solidify and produce an inflammatory reaction which destroys the vein wall.
Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy (UGS)
Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy is a very successful treatment that has been in use for many years. In this treatment, a medicine is injected into the vein, usually using ultrasound guidance. The two medications utilised in this procedure are polidocanol or fibrovein
Anesthesia or admission to hospital are not required, meaning you can continue with your day to day activities. This is a very successful therapy, particularly when treating small to medium sized veins.
Microsclerotherapy is used to treat very small veins and has been around since the 1920’s, but was made popular during the 1960s. Microsclerotherapy involves injecting a “sclerosant” into each vein with very fine needles.
Improvements are usually seen in a couple of weeks but up to 12 weeks may be needed to show to maximum effort. Multiple session are generally required for complete removal.
What are the questions to ask the Phlebologist in my consultation?
Some individuals find that visiting a phlebologist can be overwhelming, especially if it is your first visit. To ensure that you leave satisfied and get all of your queries answered, it may be useful to come prepared with some questions.
These may include: -Do I need to treat my varicose veins? -What causes varicose veins? -What treatments are offered here? -What are the risks associated with these treatments? -Will I need to take time off work?
If you are suffering from varicose veins or other venous diseases such as spider veins or reticular veins you should seek treatment as soon as possible. Venous diseases are usually progressive and if left untreated symptoms will generally worsen or more serious complications can occur.
Visit a trusted Phlebologists, such as Dr Ivor Berman from Specialist Vein Care, for a more informed decision on where to go in the future in terms of treatment or surgery.
Dr Berman is an experienced phlebologist and a Fellow of the Australasian College of Phlebology. He offers a range of vein removal procedures that are minimally invasive with minimal risk and low to no downtime. To make an appointment with Dr Berman call Specialist Vein Care on 03 9561 5155.