Having varicose veins can make you self-conscious about exposing your legs but it doesn’t have to be like that.
Until relatively recently if you had varicose veins you had two options – you either put up with them or you went into hospital for a major operation. Nowadays, thanks to advances in keyhole and laser surgery, getting rid of varicose veins is a lot more convenient. Dr Mo Faris, Cooden Medical Group’s Founder talks about two of the most popular treatments.
Varicose veins are the large rope like veins that usually appear on your lower leg. While they don’t usually cause medical problems, they can be uncomfortable, especially at night and many people are self-conscious about their appearance.
If you’ve decided that you want rid of your varicose veins, whether it’s for cosmetic or other reasons, there are several options for treatment. Your consultant will recommend the most appropriate one depending on the type, size and stage of the affected vein, taking your own preference into account.
“Sclero” comes from the Greek word for hard and this treatment works by injecting the vein with liquid to cause the blood inside to clot and harden. This seals the vein shut and stops it from functioning. Over a period of time the vein will breakdown naturally and will disappear.
SCLEROTHERAPY is normally used for treating spider veins and smaller varicose veins. It is virtually painless, involving one or two small needle punctures into the affected vein. The consultant will use ultrasound to guide the needle into the correct part of the vein.
The treatment is very quick and you can carry on as normal immediately afterwards, although you will need to wear compression stockings for a week or two. Sometimes a second injection is needed a few weeks afterwards to achieve the desired results.
Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA)
In the last few years this pioneering treatment has become the preferred alternative to the old fashioned surgical “stripping” of varicose veins. EVLA literally means “destroying the vein from the inside with a laser”, which is exactly what happens. The consultant introduces a thin fibre into the affected vein using ultrasound as a guide. The laser is fired into the vein through the fibre and destroys the vein without affecting any of the surrounding tissue.
You need to have a local anaesthetic but once this is done the procedure is painless. Afterwards you might feel some tenderness, tingling or tightness in the treated leg but this is nothing to worry about and these symptoms will disappear in a few weeks.
You will be able to walk immediately after your treatment and your consultant will encourage you to keep active. But you will need avoid swimming, hot baths, sun bathing and vigorous exercise for a couple of weeks.