Varicose veins are prominent purple or blue coloured veins which typically bulge beneath the skin and are most commonly found in the legs, ankles or feet. Many people are distressed about the appearance of varicose veins which can lead to a significant drop in self-confidence. Varicose veins can also result in many symptoms which may affect everyday activities including itchiness, swelling, aching and discomfort. Many patients may not develop any symptoms from having varicose veins although they may be at risk of developing problems later. Here we discuss the most commonly asked questions at the varicose vein consultations which may be helpful if you are considering having varicose vein treatment in London.
What are the causes of varicose veins?
Varicose veins occur when blood flow stagnates in the veins of the legs as a result of malfunctioning of the valves found within veins. In affected veins, blood does not flow adequately which results in the vein expanding and bulging underneath the skin. Varicose veins are associated with several risk factors including high BMI, female gender, advancing age and genetics.
Are thread veins and spider veins the same as varicose veins?
Thread veins or broken capillaries are also known as spider veins and share certain similarities to varicose veins in that they have the same causes. However there are certain key differences, varicose veins are often larger and often have a blue or purple appearance that can be seen in bulging veins under the skin. Varicose veins often cause certain symptoms including itchiness, aching, discomfort and generalised swelling of the legs. Spider veins or thread veins are smaller veins and often appear red or purple in colour in the area around the ankles, calves or thighs. Thread veins do not bulge outwards like varicose veins and are much thinner in diameter. Thread veins are also commonly found in the face and around the eyes.
How can I prevent varicose veins from occurring?
In many cases, varicose veins cannot be prevented from forming as there are certain factors that play a large role in their development and this includes genetics. Our vein specialists recommend certain actions which you can implement to reduce your risk of developing varicose veins. If you are overweight, losing weight is an effective way to reduce the risk of developing varicose veins. Eating healthily and exercising regularly are highly beneficial. Women should avoid wearing high-heeled shoes as this prevents the calf muscles from fully contracting. If the main symptoms include aching then medical-grade compression stockings will be effective to prevent stagnant blood flow.
Are varicose veins dangerous?
Varicose veins may result in medical complications if they go undiagnosed and untreated. Long-term effects of varicose veins can include leg ulcers, deep vein thrombosis, varicose eczema and chronic leg swelling which may cause significant pain and discomfort. Many patients may describe symptoms including itchiness, tiredness, a feeling of heaviness and swelling. Varicose veins that are inadequately treated may result in worsening of symptoms and we would recommend early and prompt treatment to prevent potential complications of varicose veins.
When is the best time of year to remove varicose veins?
Varicose vein treatment can be carried out at any time. We find that many patients choose to have varicose vein removal treatments during the autumn and winter months to ensure they are fully healed and ready for the summer months.
What are the best treatments for varicose veins?
At Centre for Surgery, our vein specialists offer three highly effective treatments to get rid of varicose veins including:
- EVLA involves the use of a laser to destroy diseased veins using real-time ultrasound guidance. Treated veins eventually collapse and are reabsorbed by the body. Endovenous laser ablation is a minimally invasive procedure recognised as one of the most effective procedures for treating varicose veins and has been endorsed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence or NICE as the gold standard treatment for varicose veins.
- Foam sclerotherapy is designed to treat spider veins or thread veins with the injection of liquid sclerotherapy directly into the affected veins. The foam sclerosant induces an intense inflammatory reaction inside the vein which causes the vein walls to collapse resulting in the closure of the vein. The vein will no longer be visible after successful treatment.
- Phlebectomy also known as vein avulsions involves the removal of smaller varicose veins by making a tiny incision directly over the affected segment of the vein followed by the insertion of a vein hook for gentle extraction. Local anaesthetic is used to ensure the procedure is painless and no stitches are required for the skin.
When you have a detailed clinical assessment by a vein specialist at Centre for Surgery, the most appropriate treatment will be recommended to remove varicose veins.
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Is there any downtime involved after varicose vein treatment?
Varicose vein removal treatments are minimally invasive procedures with little or no downtime after the procedure. Most patients who have EVLA or sclerotherapy can return to their normal daily routine the day after treatment. We would recommend 2 to 3 days of rest after having a phlebectomy treatment to ensure proper healing and recovery.
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What are the side effects of varicose vein treatments?
Varicose vein treatments involve certain side effects as with any type of invasive medical procedure. The most common side effects after EVLA and foam sclerotherapy are bruising and swelling at the site of treatment but these rapidly settle down after a couple of weeks.
Will varicose veins come back after having varicose vein treatment?
In up to one percent of varicose vein treatments, there is a risk of other veins developing into varicose veins in the years following varicose vein removal. EVLA treatment for varicose veins has been medically proven to be highly effective with less than 1 in 10 patients requiring repeat treatment several years later to seal off any new veins.
Why choose Centre for Surgery for varicose vein removal?
- Our London vein experts focus on the most effective treatments for both varicose veins and thread veins affecting the legs.
- EVLA or endovenous laser ablation is the most effective treatment for varicose veins as endorsed by NICE.
- Varicose vein treatments have a very short recovery period.
- Every consultation includes a complimentary ultrasound scan of the legs which is often charged at approximately £400 at other clinics.
- We have a 97% patient satisfaction rating with many happy patients referring their friends and family to us.
- Most treatments take no more than 60 minutes and you will be able to go home soon after the treatment.
- Our vein specialists carry out hundreds of procedures each year at our London vein clinic.
If you would like to learn more about varicose vein treatment, please get in touch with us today on 020 7993 4849 or complete the contact form below to book a consultation with a vascular surgeon at our 106 Crawford Street Clinic.