Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do We Get Varicose Veins?
In venous disease, the underlying problem appears to be damage to the valves.
Gravity dictates that blood is pulled downwards. To counteract this, the body has developed a way to prevent blood from remaining in the lower limbs, through circulation and the presence of valves within the leg veins which open in only one direction: upwards.
These valves allow the blood to pass in only one direction and stop the blood going all the way down. The contraction of the calf muscle sends the blood even higher until it eventually reaches the heart.
Varicose veins occur when the valves stop working and cannot stop the blood from rushing back down. The blood in these veins pools in the legs which leads to higher pressure in the branches near the skin. These branches bulge and varicose veins occur.
Am I Likely to Suffer With Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins occur in both men and women. A definitive cause is not known, however a strong family history suggests that some people inherit veins that are more likely to deteriorate. In women, oestrogen may play a role as the onset of puberty, pregnancy and taking oral contraceptives can give rise to vein abnormalities. In pregnancy, the enlarged uterus can restrict blood flow from the legs and promote the development of varicose veins. Aging is also a major contributor to gradual progressive valve weakness. Spider veins and varicose veins are also associated with obesity. Occupations involving prolonged standing tend to increase the likelihood of developing symptomatic veins.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Veins are vessels which are designed to carry de-oxygenated blood back to the heart from the tissues of the body. However, varicose veins are abnormally dilated veins that cannot perform their function.
Varicose veins are larger veins that bulge above the skin surface. They are commonly found in association with larger and deeper vein problems. If there is a deeper vein problem it can be detected at an initial examination.
Can vein problems be prevented?
We can’t say for sure, but there are measures which can be taken to potentially help the issue:
- Wearing specialised venous support stockings may prevent some dilated blood vessels from developing in some people
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Regular exercise
- Maintaining a healthy diet
Is Sclerotherapy painful?
The needles used are very small and fine and most patients will only experience minor discomfort. Individual injections can cause a slight burning sensation, similar to an insect bite, for a few seconds.
Does Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy permanently remove varicose veins?
The veins that have been treated effectively will not return. With UGS, varicose veins can be effectively treated without the need for surgery, but for some people varicose veins are a reoccurring problem because the underlying causes cannot be changed e.g. heredity and aging. As this is largely a genetic condition, presently normal veins may develop incompetence and enlarge over time, leading to secondary varicose veins.
Is it safe to treat varicose veins?
Although dilated blood vessels do carry some blood, they are not very efficient and most often are not necessary to the circulatory system. The body already has an established alternative route for the blood to travel back more efficiently to the heart. Varicose veins can therefore be treated without damaging the circulation, often improving venous circulation.
What is the difference between Endovenous Laser Ablation and Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy?
Both procedures are used to treat deeper veins; however, in Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy a sclerosing solution is injected directly into the vein whereas Endovenous Laser Ablation involves the use of a laser fibre inside the incompetent vein.
What Impact Will Treatment Have On My Overall Circulation?
Varicose veins serve no useful function to the body’s circulation. They do not return blood to the heart and our body has already established alternative pathways to bypass the abnormal varicose veins. When varicose veins are closed down, the circulatory system improves, as do many of the symptoms.
Is There A ‘Cure All’ Solution To The Problem?
It is important to understand that varicose veins can be a progressive condition and that new veins can develop with time. Ongoing maintenance treatment is likely for most patients.
Will I need to wear stockings?
After Varicose Vein Treatment you will be fitted with thigh high/open toes class two compression stockings. You will need to wear these stockings for between 5 to 14 days. Wearing these stockings further reduces the already low risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The wearing of the compression stockings is an important part of your treatment. Compression following your vein treatment assists in the healing process and will reduce the degree of bruising, inflammation, swelling and trapped blood. Any questions you have regarding the wearing of stockings will be fully explained when you come in for treatment.