Ugly Veins Explained
It’s recommended to get a clear diagnosis of the underlying vein problems you may have, before making a decision about possible treatments.
If you have enlarged, bulging or small spider veins, chances are you want to do something about what you consider “ugly veins”, and that you want to enjoy a healthier looking pair of legs.
Before thinking about the cosmetic side of your treatment, it’s useful to understand the underlying causes.
Causes of Ugly Veins
Bulging or distorted veins are caused by swelling inside your veins, and by blood pooling in those veins of your leg (varicose veins). You may feel that the symptoms get worse in hot weather, or after a long period of standing or exercise. As you elevate or rest your leg, you might see that the symptoms are less visible.
So what causes these ugly veins? Unidirectional valves in your veins regulate the blood flow. When these are malfunctioning, less blood returns upwards to the heart and pools in your legs, which causes the swelling or bulging.
It’s important to understand the underlying causes and to get a comprehensive ultrasound assessment by looking at the deeper veins which may be causing the problems at the surface.
What Can Be Done To Get Rid Of Ugly Veins?
At The Vein Clinic Perth we start with a clinical assessment ultrasound. This gives you an accurate diagnosis so you can make a well-informed decision about your treatment options.
Traditionally, vein stripping surgery used to be the most widely applied treatment. Radiologists like Dr Matar have pioneered non-surgical treatments over the last decades, and because these treatments are minimally invasive, they will not affect your everyday activities and your lifestyle.
These treatments rely on advanced skill with ultrasound diagnosis and ultrasound-guided intervention.
Do Your Legs Look Like This?
Our Approach to Treatment
Treatment of large malfunctioning veins (trunk)
Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLA) to great, small, and/or anterior accessory saphenous veins. 60 minutes
Treatment of large varicose veins (branches)
Phlebectomy removal of larger bulging varicose veins 90-120 minutescombined with
Ultrasound-Guided Foam Sclerotherapy (UGFS) on smaller veins. 30 minutes
Treatment of small varicose veins (branches) if required
Extra sessions of UGFS to close smaller veins if identified as required at post-treatment follow-up scan 30 minutes
You may not require this stage.
Optional treatment surface veins (leaves)
Usually done by Microsclerotherapy 30 minutes
Most patients require multiple treatment sessions to remove spider veins.
Follow up and maintenance to ensure best results
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I have varicose veins?
Most varicose vein issues are hereditary. If you have one parent with varicose veins your risk of having them is around 65%. If both parents are affected the risk rises to approximately 90%. Another main risk factor for women is pregnancy, with the risk increasing with each additional pregnancy. Standing occupations such as hairdressers, nurses, and chefs also have a high risk of varicose veins as gravity puts pressure on the veins and weakens them.
How do I prevent varicose veins?
Once varicose veins are present, they will not resolve of their own accord. Measures to reduce the rate of progression include maintaining a normal healthy weight and going for regular walks of 20-30 minutes per day. Reducing the length of time spent on the feet in a stationary position may help and alternating between standing and sitting positions during the day will also reduce the pressure on the veins.
What will happen if I don’t treat these veins?
Generally, without treatment, varicose veins will get progressively worse over time. Symptoms may occur such as heaviness, ache, pain, and tiredness in the legs towards the end of the day. Further progression may result in leg swelling, itch, skin discolouration, and eventual skin ulceration. Blood clots related to superficial venous thrombosis may also occur in severe cases and can lead to the more serious condition of Deep Vein Thrombosis.
What treatment options exist?
Outdated, old-fashioned options such as surgical stripping are rapidly becoming obsolete due to poor long-term success, with recurrence rates of up to 50%. Modern treatment options include endovenous laser ablation, sclerotherapy injections, and ultrasound-guided ambulatory phlebectomy. In many cases a combination of different treatments will give the best long-term results.
Will the veins come back after treatment?
Many people are concerned that the treatment will be of limited value because the veins will just come back. This was certainly the case in the days of surgical stripping with a 50% recurrence rate at 5 years; however, using the latest minimally invasive techniques, we can reduce the risk of recurrent varicose veins to the baseline risk of approximately 3% per year.
What is the downtime following treatment?
This depends on the type of procedure performed and the severity of the veins being treated. Modern treatment with laser can involve no time off work and approximately two weeks off heavy gym work and four weeks off international travel.
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