Troubled by their bulging appearance, or discomfort they can cause, many patients suffering with varicose veins decide to look into vein treatment options. Increasing speculation into varicose veins’ health risks has also led to increasing popularity of the procedures.
If you’ve just started looking into treatment options, but feeling overwhelmed by all you need to know, you may find this blog useful. I’ve laid out the answers to some popular questions at this stage about the condition and their removal.
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are usually found on the legs, often raised above the skin with a swollen, enlarged appearance, and commonly deep blue or red in colour. The veins occur when the valves weaken within the veins, preventing them from working efficiently.
If you are suffering from varicose veins, you may be experiencing symptoms such as itching, aching and heaviness.
When is the best time to treat my varicose veins?
There is no rush to treat your varicose veins as their progression is usually slow. However, the sooner they are removed, the longer you are able to reap the benefits. However, the best time to treat your varicose veins is the autumn or winter months, as your bruising and swelling will be resolved by summer. Compression stockings which must be worn temporarily following treatment are also more comfortably worn and easier to hide in the colder seasons.
What does a varicose vein consultation involve?
To ensure optimal safety and effective results, your varicose vein consultation and treatment should be arranged with a Consultant Vascular Surgeon. Although, you may have a preliminary consultation with an advisor, prior to your surgeon consultation.
In the consultation, the surgeon should discuss with you all of the risks and benefits of the procedures as well as your medical history and lifestyle, to help determine the appropriate options for you. Your varicose veins should be carefully examined, and ultrasound technology used to understand their underlying cause. Results from the scan should be discussed with you, and your surgeon should then be able to recommend a treatment plan.
During the consultation, you will also have the opportunity to ask the surgeon any questions or concerns you may have.
What are my treatment options?
There are several options for varicose vein treatment. Most modern clinics will offer and recommend EVLA, representing the NICE (National Institute for Clinic Excellence) Gold Standard for varicose vein treatment. Patients unsuitable for EVLA should be offered another appropriate option, such as Foam Sclerotherapy, which is best for smaller veins, or Phlebectomy treatment.
Vein Stripping is an option still used by many clinics; however, the surgical procedure is more outdated, requiring extensive incisions as well as much longer recovery.
Is there an age limit for varicose vein treatment?
No age limit currently exists for the varicose vein procedures; however, you should be fit and healthy. During your consultation, your surgeon should discuss your medical history in order to devise your suitability for the procedures.
Is there a limit on the amount of varicose veins that can be treated in a session?
There is generally no limit on how many veins can be removed per session, although, your surgeon should recommend an amount taking into account your comfort level. There is a limit on how much local anaesthetic can be used safely in one session. If your surgeon thinks you will require more sessions it will be discussed in your consultation.
For patients with varicose veins in both legs, it may be best to treat your legs on two individual sessions. This means you can have a more comfortable recovery and more mobility too.
How does blood circulate in the leg after varicose veins are removed?
Your leg has two vein types – superficial and deep veins. Deep veins are responsible for carrying blood to your heart. This is supported by squeezing muscles, which occurs in movements such as walking. Superficial veins, however, are closer to your skin’s surface and not supported by your leg muscles, so the blood in these veins is not carried to the heart. The blood flowing within superficial veins is usually diverted into your deep veins via connecting veins valves. Varicose veins affect superficial veins only, so after these are discarded, your blood flow will then return to your deep veins, improving your blood flow and circulation.
I hope this blog has provided you with a good foundation of knowledge about varicose veins and their removal. You can find a wealth of further information online to feel more informed and prepared about the procedure.
However, ultimately the best way to receive expert advice and find out the most suitable option for you is to arrange a consultation with an expert Vascular Consultation Surgeon.