What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are abnormally dilated, twisted and bulging veins that can appear anywhere on the body, but typically you find them on the legs and ankles. When the valves within the vein malfunction, it causes a build-up of blood pressure within the vein, which is why the vein dilates and bulges. They can cause aching throbbing legs with swelling. Some patients complain that the pain causes them to have sleep issues. In some advanced cases, varicose veins ulcerate and require treatment for the resulting wound.
What causes varicose veins?
Certain groups of people are more at risk of developing varicose veins but it can affect anyone and is on the rise among younger people. Women are more likely to suffer from varicose veins and thread veins than men. One reason for this is pregnancy, and hormonal changes more generally seem to increase the likelihood of vein issues. Older people, people who have to stand or sit for long periods at work and those with a genetic predisposition are more likely to deal with varicose veins.
How can I treat my varicose veins?
There is a lot of misinformation on the most effective ways to treat varicose veins, with creams and supplements boasting they are cures. Although elevating your legs when possible, staying hydrated and wearing compression stockings can help prevent veins from getting worse, medical intervention is the best way to get rid of them.
What are the most effective treatments for varicose veins?
At Centre For Surgery, we now offer a range of gold-standard treatments for Varicose Veins. Performed by our specialist Consultant Vascular Surgeon and an ultrasound scientist.
The first step would be a consultation that includes an ultrasound to assess your veins and the most suitable treatment for you. The most commonly recommended treatments are:
EVLA Endovenous Laser Ablation
Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) is a minimally invasive treatment that can be performed within approximately 30-90 minutes under local anaesthetic. You can walk out of the clinic later that day, and the procedure has minimal downtime. EVLA involves a laser fibre being inserted into the vein, guided by ultrasound. Once the laser fibre is in position, the laser is activated, and the vein is precisely destroyed. At Centre for Surgery, we pride ourselves on gold-standard treatments with GMC registered specialists, which is why we use a 1940 nm wavelength in our EVLA treatments. 1940 nm is considered the most effective wavelength by many vein experts. After the vein has been destroyed by laser, it is reabsorbed into the body over the next few weeks. It is essential to wear a compression garment over the treated area for the week following an EVLA treatment. EVLA has been over 97% effective in clinical trials in treating varicose veins.
Foam Sclerotherapy is a varicose vein treatment involving a chemical foam sclerosant injected into a vein using ultrasound guidance. The most commonly used chemical in this procedure is sodium tetradecyl sulphate (STS) which has been used safely for decades. The foam fills the vein, destroying the vein’s lining; the veins then shrink in size and are reabsorbed into the body. This is also done under local anaesthetic and is a minimally invasive procedure. Sclerotherapy can be used alongside EVLA treatments.
Depending on how many veins need treating, you may need more than one sclerotherapy treatment, as there are limits on the amount of foam sclerosant that can be used in a single session.