WHY SHOULD VARICOSE VEINS BE TREATED?
This is a good question as the NHS in England has largely given up on treating varicose veins. Varicose veins themselves rarely cause trouble beyond being unattractive but the increased pressure that causes the varicose veins certainly does cause problems. If this increased pressure is ignored then over time serious skin problems can develop which can lead to ulceration. Many patients come to us as they remember their Granny suffering over many years with painful ulcers and having to have her legs bandaged all the time. They don't want to suffer as she did and want to nip the problem in the bud. Very sensible!
So there are three main reasons not to ignore varicose veins and to get the underlying problem which is causing the increased pressure treated:
- Varicose veins are unattractive. Many people are seriously affected by the looks of their veins. They will not show their legs in public and indeed often even to their partner. This has an adverse effect on sport participation and enjoyment of holidays and other leisure activities. In some it can affect their careers and we have seen many actors and models (both sexes!) who "needed" their legs to look better. Most patients are delighted with the appearance of their legs after our treatments.
- Varicose veins hurt. As mentiioned above it isnt actually the varicose veins that normally cause the symptoms but the increased pressure. Nevertheless most patients with varicose veins suffer from various symptoms which can also affect lifestyle. Common symptoms are tired legs, itchiness, throbbing, restless legs, and aching. These symptoms usually resolve very quickly after EVLA and RFA.
- Varicose veins can lead to serious skin damage and ulcers. Although most patients with varicose veins dont get ulceration most leg ulcers are associated with varicose veins and caused by the same problem that causes varicose veins. Treating the varicose veins properly removes this cause and dramatically reduces the risk of leg ulcers.
We are pleased to see NICE the National Institute for Clinical Excellence at long last corroborating our approach in their Guidance on how to manage varicose veins in the legs. They recommend on the basis of scientific evidence that first line treatment should be either EVLA (Endovenous Laser Ablation) or RFA (eg VNUS).
We do not believe in over diagnosing. There is absolutely no point in screening for venous problems if you have no visible unsightly veins and no symptoms. Some clinics advertise “Screening for Vein Problems”. Our opinion is this is just a PR exercise aimed at boosting business and has no health or cosmetic benefit. Even if it is discovered by such screening scans that you already have venous valve problems, it will do no harm whatsoever to wait until such time as you develop symptoms or develop varicose or thread veins which you want to eradicate.