Varicose veins are classified as blue or purple, swollen veins in the legs which are not only unsightly at times, but can cause discomfort, depending on where they are situated. Medical treatment is often not necessary as people with varicose veins can live a healthy life with zero complication, however, there are exceptions.
Symptoms of varicose veins:
- Swelling of feet and ankles
- Swollen veins, visible to the eye
- Itchiness towards your ankle
- ‘Heavy’, painful legs
- Discoloured skin around the veins
- Cramping in legs
Your healthcare professional may suggest the following options before implementing surgery, depending on the severity.
- Try compression stockings
- Elevating the infected area
- Participating in exercise
- Avoid long periods of standing
If your varicose veins are causing medical complications, the following treatments are available to eliminate pain and discomfort. They include:
- Endothermal ablation
This treatment involves using high-frequency radio waves or lasers to treat the infected veins. This is often the first choice method of treatment. This includes:
- Radiofrequency ablation
Done under local anaesthetic, radiofrequency ablation involves heating the varicose vein wall by inserting a probe into the infected vein to transmit radiofrequency energy, thus causing the vein wall to collapse.
- Endovenous laser treatment
As with radiofrequency ablation, endovenous laser treatment is also performed under local anaesthetic. It is done by inserting a catheter into the infected vein to guide the laser to the top of the vein. Bursts of energy are then passed through the vein, causing the vein to close up.
Whilst under general anaesthetic, surgery includes removing or tying off larger veins, if conventional treatments have failed. You may need to stay in thehospital overnight if both legs were operated on, however, same-day discharge is common.
- Ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy
Sclerotherapy may be introduced if endothermal ablation treatment is not an option. This treatment consists of injecting a special foam into the infected veins, scarring the veins which then causes them to seal off. However, it’s not recommended to try sclerotherapy if you’ve previously experienced deep vein thrombosis. Carried out under local anaesthetic, pain medication is used to numb the area.
- Transilluminated powered phlebectomy
As transilluminated powered phlebectomy may cause bruising and bleeding after surgery and it’s not one of the most well-known treatments used. Performed either under local or general anaesthetic, small incisions are made in your leg in order to place an endoscopic transilluminator underneath your skin. This will enable the surgeon to determine which veins to remove by cutting the veins before removing them through a suction device.
Varicose veins are normally harmless to your health and don’t require medical treatment unless you’re experiencing pain and discomfort, however, it’s important to speak to your physician before undergoing any treatment option in order to determine the best treatment for your particular problem. Always ensure you have a reliable medical aid to cover theatre costs and consultations to ensure you receive the best possible treatment available.