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Varicose veins - Know about its treatment

By Dr. Manish Agarwal in Department of General Surgery and Robotics , General Surgery

Nov 07 , 2020 | 6 min read

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What Do You Know About Varicose Veins?

Most commonly known as varicose or varicosities, “Varicose Veins” are enlarged, swollen and twisted veins. Purple or blue in colour, they often appear on thighs, legs and ankles. Approximately, 25% of women and 15% of men seek varicose veins treatment.

How Do Varicose Veins Develop?

Veins have one-way valves, which open to allow the blood to flow towards the heart and close to stop the blood from flowing backwards. Normally, the valves in the legs allow the blood to flow against gravity towards the heart. If these valves do not function properly due to weakness or any damage, the blood flows back and gets accumulated in the veins, thereby enlarging the veins and making them varicose.

Types Of Varicose Veins

  1. Spider veins
  2. Reticular varices
  3. Varicose vein trunk
  4. Chronic venous insufficiency
  5. Tropic ulcer

What Are The Causes Of Varicose Veins?

  1. Heredity
  2. Pregnancy
  3. Obesity
  4. Menopause
  5. Prolonged standing
  6. Abdominal straining
  7. Smoking
  8. Hormonal problems
  9. Post phlebitis obstruction or incontinence
  10. Venous and arteriovenous malformations

Know Signs and Symptoms of Varicose Veins

Initially, most people do not feel any pain or discomfort, but they may observe:

  1. Veins look twisted, swollen and lumpy (bulging)
  2. Appear blue or dark purple

Some patients may experience:

  1. Pain in Legs
  2. Legs feel heavy, especially after exercise or at night
  3. Swollen ankles
  4. Shiny skin discolouration usually brown or blue near varicose veins
  5. Skin in the affected area is red, itchy and dry
  6. While standing up, you may experience leg cramps

Are There Any Complications?

  1. You can develop painful ulcers near the varicose veins with brown pigmentation
  2. Veins that are deep in the legs develop swelling and enlargement
  3. Blood clotting in the affected areas

How Can Varicose Veins Be Diagnosed?

Your doctor will examine your legs and veins while you are sitting or standing to diagnose varicose veins. They may ask you about any pain or symptoms you’re having. He may also want to do an ultrasound to check your blood flow, to see how the blood is flowing in your veins.  The doctors may be conservative when treating varicose veins. You’ll probably be advised to make changes to your lifestyle, instead of trying more aggressive treatments.

Which Lifestyle Changes?

Dr. Manish Agrawal, Senior Consultant, Department of General Surgery and Robotics, puts together the following points for us to understand what changes can help us to prevent varicose veins:

  1. Avoid standing for prolonged periods of time
  2. Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
  3. Exercise to improve your leg strength
  4. Refrain from crossing your legs for extended periods of time
  5. Elevate your legs whenever you are resting or sleeping
  6. Wear compression stockings as it increases the blood flow to your heart

Note - Your doctor advises you with such invasive procedures if lifestyle changes are not working or if your pain is severe.

Treatment Of Varicose Veins

Endovenous Laser Ablation (ELVA) – This is a simple treatment that closes the varicose veins. A laser is threaded through a tiny incision made in a full-length varicose vein. This laser energy generates heat which destroys the vein by causing it to collapse and seal shut. As the laser is slowly withdrawn, heat applied to the vein walls causes the veins to permanently close and disappear.

Thus, all the abnormal dilated damaged veins are burnt off. These burnt veins heal with fibrous (permanent sticking) and thus abnormal superficial veins are not used in blood circulation. The body reroutes the blood through healthier veins. No other tissues in the legs are affected in the process. Surgeons discuss the procedure in detail after they determine that it is appropriate to treat your varicose veins by laser intervention.

What Are The Advantages Of Laser Treatment?

  1. Higher success rate and low recurrence rate
  2. Minimal invasive procedure and minimal pain
  3. Less or no scar
  4. Minimal postoperative pain
  5. Faster recovery
  6. Surgery doesn’t take more than an hour

Why Choose Max Hospital for Varicose Veins Treatment?

  1. Experienced and Skilled Team: When you choose our clinic, you tap into our pool of years of expertise and trust.
  2. Comfortable Treatment: Your care and satisfaction is our utmost priority. We ensure it with our carefully chosen medical procedures and treatment techniques.
  3. World-class Medical Technology: We use a top-graded laser device to offer you much more effective, minimally invasive, safer and cosmetically preferential treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are Varicose veins dilated veins in the leg?

Yes, these veins develop when you have experienced a breakdown in the return pump valve, which allows the blood to stay in the veins resulting in their dilation. Surprisingly, once a vein becomes dilated it is no longer functional for your body’s circulatory system.

2. Does Standing or crossing your legs for long periods of time cause varicose veins?

No. It is a myth! Continuous standing does not cause varicose veins, but hastens the deterioration of malfunctioning valves, causing the development of varicose veins. Since most of our valves fail at a young age, standing for long periods can create a greater likelihood of developing varicose veins in those who already have defective valves.

3. Women get varicose veins more often than men?

Not much research has gone into this to discover that women have more varicose veins than men. However, it is observed that women are more organized in having their regular checkups, so they are more likely to be diagnosed with this condition.  The UK community study in 1998, in Edinburg, found that more men had varicose veins as compared to women.

4. Does pregnancy cause varicose veins?

Pregnancy is a contributing rather than a causal factor. Women with weak or pre-existing valve problems develop varicose veins eventually. Thus, it is incorrect to say that pregnancy exacerbates or hastens the development of varicose veins.

5. How can I know if I will get varicose veins?

You cannot know; although it is more likely if your parents or relatives had them. Therefore, it is advisable to take preventive measures before or after that make an unwelcome appearance.

6. Varicose veins do not require treatment as they are only cosmetic problems.

Varicose veins are a condition that veins are not working properly. Naturally, if the valves are not working properly, their outcome will be vancosities, and their accompanying problems (leg acting/eczema/tipadermatesctersis/cellulites/thrombosis/venous/ulcer etc). It is essential to treat varicose veins in symptomatic patients who have developed skin changes.

7. What can I do to prevent varicose veins?

Preventive measures can be taken to delay their appearance since they are partly determined by genetics. Wear comfortable heels, try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, a well-balanced diet, do regular exercise, and avoid prolonged standing.

8. You should wait until you have finished having children before getting varicose veins treatment?

Since pregnancy hastens the development of varicose veins, the sooner you get it fixed, the less damage will be done to your legs and the easier will be your treatment. In case, you have persistent varicose veins after 6-8weeks of delivery then it is advisable to undergo the treatment before you plan for a second child.

9. Varicose veins treatment is futile because they always return?

Myth. Accurate diagnosis and treatment ensure that some of them do not return. Sometimes it is necessary to get varicose veins treated, whether there is neovascularisation or not because the symptoms are unacceptable or unbearable for many people. If varicose veins are not properly treated or evaluated properly, the chances of reoccurrence are even higher.

10. Conservative treatment is the best treatment?

The treatment of primary varicose veins depends on the extent of varicosity and the damage to the skin at the ankle. Graduated elastic compression stockings are good for temporary relief of symptoms and are used below the knee with pressure between 23-32 mmHg.

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