VARICOSE VEINS INTRODUCTION
"BE PROUD OF YOUR LEGS"
We offer a discrete, comprehensive, minimally invasive, non-surgical, outpatient based diagnosis and treatment service for all types of varicose vein and venous leg ulcers.
We also treat unsightly veins on the breasts, chest, and around the eyes in addition to thread veins, varicoceles and pelvic venous congestion syndrome.
SO, WHAT ARE VARICOSE VEINS?
Over the next few pages we will explain how varicose veins form, why you should have treatment and which treatments are best.
Varicose veins are twisty bulging veins on the legs caused by an increase in the normal venous pressure. They tend to get larger and uglier with time and are normally uncomfortable typically causing tired legs, itching, throbbing, restlessness and aching. They can bleed especially in the elderly after relatively minor trauma. The increased pressure often causes skin damage and in many patients actual ulceration of the skin occurs which takes months to heal without appropriate treatment.
Most varicose veins of the legs are never treated. The mainstay of treatment for those that are still remains surgery; most commonly tying and stripping. Such surgery is very effective in most cases and most patients are pleased with the results but it is far from perfect. It is expensive, time consuming, uncomfortable at best and usually requires a general anaesthetic. Patients need significant time off work and play whilst they convalesce. Scars are inevitable and recurrence of symptoms and varicose veins occurs in at least 10% of patients after surgery.
MINIMALLY INVASIVE TECHNIQUES
Over the last 15 years several new interventional radiological (minimally invasive ultrasound guided) techniques have been developed to replace surgery for this common problem and provide an effective treatment for all veins; even those which are apparently minor and causing cosmetic problems only for which many patients are unwilling to have an operation. There are two main techniques (RF ablation (VNUS Closure®) and Laser Ablation (EVLA or EVLT)) both of which have been extensively studied and been shown to be both safe and effective and to produce very encouraging results even for difficult recurrent varicose veins.
VARICOSE VEINS ALSO OCCUR IN OTHER UNUSUAL SITES
In the scrotum, for example, they cause a “bag of worms” swelling called a varicocoele which can be painful and reduce fertility and in the female pelvis they are responsible for much undiagnosed pelvic pain as well as obvious vulval and clitoral varices. Both these types of varices can be easily treated by an outpatient technique called embolisation.