Should I Have My Varicose Veins Treated?

varicose veins

Should I have my varicose veins treated? This is probably the question that I hear most often from patients attending my practice.

There is no one correct answer to this question, and every individual with their unique circumstances needs to be assessed and considered to respond appropriately to this inquiry.

Often a patient with bothersome veins has been told not to have them treated as “they will come back”, or that the veins may be required in the future in the case of the person requiring CABG (coronary artery bypass graft) surgery.

In some circumstances the answer is simple. If there are skin changes of advanced venous disease, such as venous ulceration, varicose eczema (itchy patches of skin on the lower parts of the legs), lipodermatosclerosis (hardening and scarring of skin in the lower legs), then treatment of underlying venous disease is essential to achieve the best health outcomes. Often people suffer for years with aching and swelling of the lower legs before coming forward for treatment.

Equally, if your unsightly leg veins are affecting your quality of life by restricting the clothing that you wear for fear of receiving comments or looks at your legs often from your children or grandchildren, then it is entirely reasonable to have varicose veins treated. If you feel self-conscious about wearing shorts or knee-length dresses or skirts, then your quality of life is being impeded by your veins.

And yes, recurrence of veins following treatment does occur, so that further treatment in the future may be necessary, but this is not a reason to avoid managing your leg health, just as with managing other ongoing medical problems.

With regard to spare parts for coronary artery grafting – firstly varicose veins are generally considered unsuitable for use in this circumstance, and there are alternative blood vessels that cardiac surgeons can access, such as arteries from the forearm.

Treatment for Varicose Veins

Modern treatments for venous disease are largely delivered in the outpatient setting, providing a minimally invasive solution to leg vein problems. Without the need for sedation or general anaesthesia, most patients can be managed in a truly ‘walk in, walk out’ fashion.  With the correct training, an experienced clinician can provide the most appropriate management plan for your circumstances.

Treatment methods include:

  • Direct Vision Sclerotherapy (DVS)
  • Endovenous Laser Treatment
  • Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy (UGS)
  • Compression Therapy
  • Vein Glue.

Generally, treatments are tailored to the type of vein problem you have, including the size and distribution of your veins, but also from the findings of an ultrasound examination. Only after your initial consultation and scan is it possible to give an accurate assessment of the required treatment.

Please contact me to arrange a consultation.

Varicose Vein Treatment is Transforming Lives

varicose vein treatment

One of the frustrations (but also joys) of working in the area of venous disease is seeing people come forward after many years of suffering from complications of varicose veins, and then seeing them benefit from varicose vein treatment.

This week I had a visit from a Brisbane woman in her late 40s who had finally been convinced by her daughter to seek medical advice. Jane had essentially tolerated living with heavy, aching, and swollen legs which had gradually worsened after the appearance of varicose veins in her second pregnancy 23 years ago. She had taken to always wearing long trousers and was self-conscious having her legs examined by a vein doctor, let alone being seen by friends and acquaintances. After one unsuccessful effort at vein surgery 20 years ago, she had given up.

What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are the larger, usually bulging blue-green veins visible on many people’s legs. Not all visible leg veins are varicose, or “incompetent”, and ultrasound examination can help to define the nature of such veins. Varicose veins are of concern due to cosmetic appearance, but may also cause leg aching, swelling, and more severe skin changes in the lower legs.

Assessment of varicose veins consists of a review of an individual’s medical history and the symptoms associated with the veins. We also check for signs on the lower legs of progressive tissue compromise secondary to the varicose veins. Accurate venous ultrasound scanning helps to diagnose the source of the varicose vein problems and identify the most appropriate treatment approach.

Modern varicose vein treatment

Jane was pleased to learn during our consultation that there have been enormous advances in the treatment of varicose veins over the past 25 years, and that her venous disease, while quite advanced, is very treatable.

Modern techniques of ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy, endovenous laser, and vein adhesives make treatment infinitely less traumatic than the traditional methods of vein stripping. Certainly, in her circumstances she will require several visits for treatment and follow up to get optimum results, but the potential improvement in her quality of life is huge.

In my experience over the years, I have found that people in circumstances such as Jane find their quality of life, self-esteem and confidence can be improved enormously by dealing with their venous disease through modern varicose vein treatment. So, while it is frustrating seeing someone who has waited so long to take action, it is equally rewarding to observe the benefits of successful management of this chronic medical problem.