Varicose Veins

What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted, and raised veins seen in the lower leg, which are usually blue and purple in colour, and can be seen through the superficial layer of the skin. Varicose veins are slightly more common in women than in men and develop as people age.

What are the main causes of varicose veins?

Varicose veins are caused by faulty valves in a vein/s, which break down creating inefficient movement of blood through the legs. This can cause many symptoms such as discomfort, pain, restless legs and leg swelling.

For mostly unknown reasons, the valves in the veins that are meant to stop blood flowing back down the vein once muscle contractions have “pumped” it up, lose their function. Blood initially passes up the vein against gravity, but then falls down and therefore accumulates. This puts more pressure on the thin vein wall and the veins stretch, ballooning with the extra volume of blood. As a result, the valves below the faulty valve cannot close properly and more blood backflows further down the leg. This is known as “refluxing”.

With continued high pressure within the veins, they inevitably enlarge. Depending whether the diseased veins develop near the surface or deeper they may or may not be visible at the skin surface. People can have quite severe venous disease without any clear evidence visually. Many patients have parents who were also affected, so heredity is likely a factor, but with the condition being so common, it is difficult to draw individual conclusions.

Who is at risk of developing varicose veins?

  • Family history of varicose veins and/or blood clots
  • Pregnancy can result in enlarged veins in your legs partially due to an increase in the volume of blood in your body
  • Obesity or being overweight can place added pressure on your veins
  • Standing or sitting for prolonged periods. As your blood doesn’t flow as well if you’re in the same position for a long period of time.
  • Women are also more likely to develop varicose, reticular or spider veins
  • Ageing

What types of treatment are available?

Depending on type and extent of vein disease there are a range of potential therapies available. Every patient will have a slightly different pattern of disease and the treatment regime is individualised to obtain the best treatment outcome.

We specialise in treatments such as Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA), Ambulatory Phlebectomy (AP), Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy (UGS), Glue (Cyanoacrylate), Microsclerotherapy and Conservative treatment.

Common questions about Varicose Vein Treatment

Yes, walking after having varicose vein surgery therapy. can help speed up the healing process. However, it is important that you take it easy especially in the first few days after treatment, keeping a close eye on how you are feeling after each walk. Generally, we advise that patients walk everyday for the first one to two weeks, before returning to more intense exercise routines such as running or cycling and weights etc.

Vein disease is usually progressive and if left untreated will likely worsen with time. Symptoms that can occur with untreated varicose veins include leg fatigue, heaviness, aching, throbbing, restlessness, tingling, itching, numbness and swelling.

More serious complications such as phlebitis, deep and superficial vein thrombosis, bleeding, swelling, dermatitis and ulcers can develop if varicose veins are left untreated.

It is important that you seek medical advice if you are or have experienced any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain and swelling in the legs
  • Dull, achy feelings in the legs at the end of the day, or especially after exercise
  • Affected varicose veins are red and feel warm
  • Skin around the affected varicose veins are dry, itchy, discolored or inflamed.

The procedure is not a particularly uncomfortable treatment and is usually well tolerated, although the amount of discomfort will vary with the individual. The needles used are extremely fine (similar to acupuncture needles) and many are hardly felt at all. However, the injected solution can sting slightly for short periods of time. If EVLA is used or Phlebectomy performed, then minimal discomfort is experienced as these are performed under local anaesthetic.

The success of the treatment depends on a number of factors such as the patient’s age, other existing medical conditions, healing rate, and adherence to post therapy instructions. Therapy is usually extremely effective; yet there are a small number of patients who do not respond as positively to the treatment.

It is important to be aware that treatment of venous disease, be it surgical or non-surgical, is a therapy of vein control and not cure. The treatment performed is aimed at dealing with the current problem and cannot prevent the development of new venous disease later on. Therefore, some patients may require future treatments. Treatment often requires one to two sessions, and in some cases several may be needed.

Eliminating these abnormal veins through treatment will actually improve the circulation. When veins become abnormal and stop functioning normally, our body finds alternative pathways with healthy veins to carry blood back to the heart.

Varicose veins do not pose a major health risk, however, it is advised that you do seek medical advice. It is important to be aware as well, that having varicose veins are not generally an indicator about an individuals own health. Although if left untreated, varicose veins can lead to more serious problems such as rashes, infections, bleeding, sores and blood clots.

Book your initial consultation today

For more information about varicose veins and the various treatment options please contact our practice on 03 9561 5155 to book in your consultation with Dr. Berman. Our team will be able to provide further details about what to expect on your first visit, as well as what to bring along to your appointment.

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