20 August 2018
The heat wave may have come to an end but if you had to cover your legs because of unsightly varicose veins you might be more than a little relieved. Varicose veins are a problem for over 28 million people in the UK and it’s not just the physical appearance that can be an issue, but the fact that they can also be painful as well, often causing aching during the day or at night, itching, or throbbing. Now could be the time to have them treated so that you can look forward to a pain-free winter and bearing your legs on the beach next year.
Vascular surgeon Professor Tim Magee, who leads the Varicose Vein Service at Spire Dunedin Hospital, answers the common questions you might have regarding your legs.
Why do I have varicose veins?
Veins return deoxygenated blood to the heart but require a system of valves to do this. When valves become damaged the blood remains in the veins and they can subsequently become swollen and twisted. The pressure of pooling blood can eventually cause skin damage including varicose eczema, lipodermatosclerosis and ulceration, though these are rare cases. Generally symptoms include heaviness, tiredness, aching or restlessness.
Varicose veins are common with 35% of women and 25% of men being affected. By 60 years of age, up to 50% of people have visible varicose veins, as the issue increases with age. Factors other than age include a family history of the issue, pregnancy, obesity, and having suffered deep vein thrombosis.
What happens during a consultation?
Professor Magee will carry out a clinical examination and ascertain the extent of the problem, possibly by carrying out a duplex ultrasound scan. A treatment plan can thus be produced.
What is involved in treatment?
Professor Magee carries out Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA). EVLA uses laser technology to seal the long or short saphenous vein. Access is through a 3mm incision which does not require stitches. The procedure is carried out as a day-case. This is walk-in, walk-out surgery, under local or in a few cases general anaesthesia.
Recovery time is short with a high degree of patient satisfaction, as can be seen from the following testimonials:
"I am delighted with the results, I will be wearing skirts and shorts this summer for the first time in years "
Endovenous laser patient, July 2018
"My boss was surprised to see me back at work three days after my procedure."
Endovenous laser patient, June 2018
"My free mini consultation was excellent, I got all the information I needed about the vein treatment I required."
Miss MB, May 2018
How are varicose ulcers treated?
Unfortunately, some patients present too late, and have varicose ulcers. It is still worthwhile treating the veins surgically, which speeds up the ulcer-healing process.
Several weeks of medical dressings, including pressure bandaging, are required to heal the ulcer. The cosmetic effects of skin discolouration and scarring will be permanent.
If you have further questions why not book a free mini-consultation?
To book an appointment please call on 0118 955 3491