Causes | Symptoms | Prevention | Diagnosis I Treatment
Varicose veins are a common visible problem that can affect anyone at any age.
They are usually a cosmetic problem, but often start hurting your legs when they appear as large, swollen veins on the legs/feet.
The veins rarely need treatment for health reasons, but if swelling, aching, and painful legs result, and if there is considerable discomfort, treatment is available.
In severe cases, a varicose vein may rupture, or develop into varicose ulcers on the skin. These will require treatment
Function of veins is to return impure blood from legs to heart. Veins have valves which allow only one way transport of blood from below to upwards. Prolonged standing can lead to weakness/leakage in these valves leading to retention of impure blood in leg veins which eventually leads to varicose veins.
Everyone who has prolonged standing work can develop this problem due to increased pressure gradient across vein valves.
eg- Housewives, Traffic police, Bus conductors, Shopkeepers, Field workers, Teachers, Surgeons / Anesthetists.
In many cases, it occurs for no clear reason. However, some potential risk factors include:
In the majority of cases, there is no pain, but signs and symptoms of varicose veins may include:
To reduce the risk of developing varicose veins:
Anyone who has to stand for their job should try to move around at least once every 30 minutes.
May get complicated by wound / ulcer development in legs, excessive bleeding from veins. It will unnecessarily prolong your treatment course. So it’s better to consult a vascular specialist/veins specialist as soon as possible.
Consult a Vascular surgeon for clinical assessment.
A brief history & physical examination, mainly visual, by a vascular surgeon will decide whether or not a patient has varicose veins. The patient will be asked to stand while the doctor checks for signs of swelling.
The following diagnostic test is sometimes ordered:
Your vascular surgery doctor will decide & explain you further course of treatment.
A. Medications & Compression stockings
They are used for very early stage of varicose veins to prevent further progress of disease & its complications.
Compression stockings squeeze the patient’s legs and improve circulation.
They work tight around the ankles and loose further up the leg. In this way, compression stockings encourage proper blood flow upwards, against gravity and back towards the heart.
Rarely performed these days.
If varicose veins are large, they may need to be removed surgically. This is usually done under general anesthesia.
C. Minimal Invasive Treatment For Varicose Veins
If the patient has no symptoms or discomfort and is not bothered by the sight of the varicose veins, treatment might not be necessary. However, if there are symptoms, treatment may be required to reduce pain or discomfort & address complications such as leg ulcers, skin discoloration,bleeding or swelling.
Some patients may also want treatment for cosmetic reasons – they want to get rid of the “ugly” varicose veins.
Laser treatments are often used to close-off large, small veins, and also spider veins. Strong bursts of light are applied to the vein, which gradually fades and disappears.
A catheter is inserted into the patient’s vein. A small laser is threaded through the catheter and positioned at the top of the target vein; it delivers short energy bursts that heat up the vein, sealing it shut.
This procedure is done under local anesthetic.
A small incision is made either above or below the knee, and with the help of an ultrasound scan; a narrow tube (catheter) is threaded into the vein.
The doctor inserts a probe into the catheter, which emits radiofrequency energy. The radiofrequency energy heats up the vein, causing its walls to collapse, effectively closing it and sealing it shut. This procedure is preferred for larger varicose veins. Radiofrequency ablation is usually done with a local anesthetic.
This method is used to treat small size varicose veins.
Medication is injected into small and medium-sized varicose veins, which scars and closes them. A few weeks later, they should fade. A vein may need to be injected more than once.
Half centimeter incision placed over the skin under ultrasound guidance. The target veins are cut and removed through the incision.
A general or local anesthetic may be used for this procedure. There may be some bleeding and bruising after the operation.
No pain during surgery. Can be done under local/spinal/general anesthesia.
Post-surgery, minimal discomfort might be felt, which can be easily tolerated by most patients.
Excellent outcomes..!! No scars on skin.
Patient can walk immediately 4 hours after procedure, you can walk & climb stairs too.
That’s the beauty of a minimal invasive/day care procedures ☺.
One can attend your work from next day of surgery without any discomfort