What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged and twisted veins that are visible on the skin. It can present as blue or purplish red bulgings mainly on the legs. They are unsightly and can cause serious discomfort and complications like a blood clot or open sores on the legs. There are varied treatment options ranging from minimally invasive therapies to surgeries. These treatments not only diminishes the pain and fatigue but also corrects the disfigurement and prevent complications.
Proper examination is essential before treatment. The Non-invasive tests that visualize the veins in the legs may also be necessary. A Doppler ultrasound will show the blood flow in the leg veins and detects the weak valve. Treatment options range from general measures for prevention to various procedures.
Why we get varicose veins?
The Varicose veins are formed due to damaged or week valves in the veins. In healthy veins the valves push the blood in one direction i.e from leg to our heart. When these valves weaken, some blood flows backward and accumulates in the vein. Extra blood in the vein puts pressure on the walls of the vein. With continued pressure, the vein walls weaken and bulge. Also the pooling of impure blood in legs can cause itching, eczema and venous ulcer (sores) if not treated on time. In more severe cases the vein can become inflamed (thrombophlebitis) or bleeding can occur from the bulgings with trivial injury
Some people have a higher risk of developing these veins. It is more commonly seen in people who sit or stand for long periods and whose blood relatives have varicose veins. These veins also become more common with age and during pregnancy.
What are the General Measures?
- Exercise for fitness
- Elevation of legs above the head level ,
- If sitting for long periods, it’s advisable to take a walk every 30 minutes.
- If standing for long periods take a break every 30 minutes.
- Compression stockings: These stockings apply steady pressure and help move the blood from legs to your heart. The steady pressure also lessens swelling in the lower legs and reduces the risk of getting a blood clot and other complications of Varicose veins
What is the most common daycare procedure for treatment?
Sclerotherapy is the common day care procedure.
What are the conditions amenable for therapy?
Varicose veins, spider veins, Venous lakes, Pyogenic granuloma and vascular nevus.
What is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a very cost-effective procedure for treatment of varicose leg veins and also for other vascular lesions which causes the walls of the vein to stick together, so the blood cannot flow through it anymore.
How it is performed?
It is typically performed on an outpatient basis by a dermatologic surgeon. Prior Doppler testing is done to know the underline condition of the veins. A specially developed chemical solution is injected with a very small needle into the varicose vein. The solution causes the vein to close up or collapse and become scar tissue that is eventually absorbed by the body. The work of carrying the blood is shifted to other healthy blood vessels nearby.
How many sessions are required?
Sclerotherapy generally requires multiple treatment sessions. One to three injections are usually required to effectively treat any vein. The same area should not be retreated for four to six weeks to allow for complete healing, although other areas may undergo treatment during this time.
What is the post procedure care?
Post-treatment therapy includes wearing bandages and support hose for two days to three weeks (most commonly one week) following treatment. Walking and moderate exercise also helps speed recovery. Although sclerotherapy works for existing spider and varicose veins, it does not prevent new ones from developing, but may decrease this risk.
What are the side effects?
Most patients report few, if any, minor side effects, which usually disappear in time. Temporary reactions can include a slight swelling of the leg or foot, minor bruising, pigmentation, the temporary appearance of new blood vessels, redness and mild soreness
Laser treatments: Dermatologists use lasers to treat small varicose veins which will darken, and are likely to be seen for 1 to 3 months before they disappear. To get complete clearing multiple laser sessions are required. Most patients can return to work and many of their normal activities on the same day. After each treatment, patients need to wear compression stockings.
Endovenous laser therapy (EVLT) and radiofrequency ablation (RFA): EVLT and RFA are newer treatments often replacing the need to surgically remove a vein. Both treatments work in the vein to destroy it. EVLT is used to treat spider veins and small varicose veins. RFA is used to treat large varicose veins. A small incision is made and a laser fiber (for EVLT) or catheter (for RFA) is inserted into the vein. The laser or radiofrequency device is activated, which heats up the vein, causing it to collapse and seal shut.