What should I know about varicose veins?

How common are varicose veins?

Varicose veins is the most common vascular disorder seen by vascular surgeons. For many patients, the veins are merely unsightly, causing little or no discomfort. Varicose veins can cause discomfort in the leg, and other symptoms such as itchiness and a feeling of heat.

Are varicose veins dangerous?

Usually not, but in some patients, skin changes (venous eczema) and soft tissue hardening (lipodermatosclerosis) indicate risk of complications such as ulceration, and demand intervention.

How should varicose veins be treated?

In some patients, life-style changes such as compression hosiery and regular exercise is sufficient. Failure of conservative measures and troublesome symptoms associated with the veins warrant intervention (treatment)

Newer forms of treatment using Endovenous ablation with laser or Radiofrequency is now the treatment of choice for most patients.

What are the advantages of Newer treatments?

These can be performed on an outpatient basis, under local anaesthetic, thereby avoiding admission to hospital. Importantly, the recovery is rapid with early return to work and usual activities. The results with these newer treatments are equivalent or even superior to surgery.

Is there still a role for Surgery?

Certainly. Not all patients are suitable for Endovenous treatments. This will depend on the scan findings and size of the varicosities.

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