Q : Who suffers from varicose veins?

A : Varicose veins are actually quite common and affect up to 30% of the population. They are more often seen in women who have had children although there is also a strong genetic component as well. Most patients with varicose veins have either a mother or father with a history of varicose veins. Patients that are obese and have spent long hours standing can also have a higher incidence of varicose veins as well.

Q : What symptoms do varicose veins cause?

A : Varicose veins can cause a whole spectrum of disease including pain, itching, swelling, heaviness and fatigue. In the most severe cases they can bleed or cause ulceration (skin tears) which can be quite difficult to heal.

Q : What if the compression stockings don’t work?

A : When symptoms from varicose veins do not improve with compression stockings, or patients cannot tolerate their use, it is important that they see a physician who specializes in the treatment of varicose veins. There are a multitude of different procedures to treat veins today, and the old vein “stripping”.

Q : What happens when you see a vein doctor?

A : Most initial office evaluations begin with a careful history and physical exam. Photographs are often taken of the leg with the varicose veins. A painless ultrasound is then typically done which allows the doctor to identify where the problem is and help to cater the treatment.

Q : Is varicose vein treatment painful?

A : A Patients report feeling little, if any, pain during and after our procedures. Tumescent solution is local anesthetic used to desensitize the treatment area.

Q : Is losing the vein and vein’s function a problem?

A : No. These veins are part of the superficial venous system, which is comprised of a number of veins. When a vein’s valves become damaged or diseased, it inhibits the proper blood flow out of the leg. In turn, the vein is no longer useful and cannot be repaired. When the diseased vein is ablated (closed) or removed, the blood is rerouted to healthy veins, restoring the proper blood flow. Damaged veins are no longer candidates for vein harvesting used in other procedures, i.e., open-heart surgery. However, as previously stated, our superficial venous system is comprised of a number of veins. For this reason, there are other healthy veins that can be used for vein harvesting used in other procedures.

Q : What is the short-term treatment for varicose veins?

A : ESES (pronounced SS) is an easy way to remember the conservative approach. It stands for Exercise Stockings Elevation and Still. Exercise, compression hose/stockings, elevation and rest will not make the veins go away or necessarily prevent them from worsening due to the underlying venous reflux disease not being addressed; however, it may provide temporary relief of the symptoms associated with varicose veins. Weight reduction is also helpful. If there are inflamed areas or an infection, topical and/or oral antibiotics may be prescribed.

Q : What is endovenous laser therapy?

A : Endovenous laser therapy is a new technique that uses a laser to destroy the vein. It is an outpatient procedure and may be done under local anesthesia. It takes about 45 minutes. A laser fiber is inserted into the vein under ultrasound guidance. Next, the vein is anesthetized using local anesthesia. The fiber is then connected to the laser generator and slowly withdrawn from the vein, sealing it and stopping the venous reflux. Possible adverse reactions are numbness and tingling, and venous thrombosis (blood clots) in the legs. Patients may have bruising and mild pain for up to 4 weeks.

Q : Does pregnancy cause varicose veins?

A : Pregnancy does not cause varicose veins; rather, it can aggravate an existing tendency toward the condition. More blood circulates in the body during pregnancy to meet the demands of the developing baby. This increased blood flow can burden an already weakened venous system. The growing fetus can also press on the pelvic veins and hinder the passage of blood. Finally, some researchers speculate that hormones present during pregnancy may contribute to dilated vessels. Prominent, uncomfortable veins that do not diminish postpartum should be evaluated by a vascular surgeon; though, some insurance providers require a six-month waiting period postpartum be observed before treatment is a covered benefit.

Q : Who is at the highest risk of developing varicose veins?

A : While anyone can suffer from varicose veins, women are more likely to develop them than men. Pregnant women are at a particularly high risk. It’s also true, however, that about 42% of men experience venous insufficiency by the age of sixty. Regardless of their sex or age, people with a family history of varicose veins are generally more likely to develop them.

Q : What will happen if I leave my varicose veins alone?

A : When left untreated, varicose veins can result in sores, skin ulcers, blood clots, and even deep vein thrombosis (DVT). It’s best to treat varicose veins as soon as possible to avoid these costly and, in the case of DVT, potentially life-threatening complications. As unpleasant as they can be, varicose veins can be easily treated. If you have further questions about them or are currently looking for treatment, contact a qualified vein specialist today and schedule an appointment.

Q : Do varicose veins recur after surgery?

A : There is a general fear about recurrence after varicose veins surgery. How can a burnt vein using RFA or laser recur. It is totally burnt. What may form new are fresh perforators after a few years, if at all. These need no surgery but injections which are ‘in and out’ like a blood test.

Q : How much rest do I need after surgery on varicose veins?

A : None at all. In fact, we want you to join duty the following day. You must walk 2 km from the next day and I must tell you that everyone does it.