Varicose Veins FAQ

FAQ
  1. What symptoms and complications can occur if varicose veins are left untreated?
  2. But don´t we need all the veins we are born with?
  3. What if a vein is needed later for by-pass surgery?
  4. What is sclerotherapy?
  5. What is the success rate for sclerotherapy?
  6. Is sclerotherapy painful?
  7. Is sclerotherapy safe for anyone?
  8. What about lasers for vein treatment?
  9. What is the recuperative period?
  10. How is ultrasound used to treat veins?
  11. Don´t some doctors treat just the bulging surface veins?
  12. If sclerotherapy didn´t work for me in the past does that mean it never will?
  13. Does this also apply to spider veins?
  14. Do you use saline for injection?
  15. Does treatment "cure" large varicose veins?
  16. Should a woman wait to treat her varicose veins until after all planned pregnancies?
  17. I am pregnant now and my leg veins are getting worse or new veins are appearing. What should I do?
  18. What about unsightly veins on the face, hands, or breasts?
  19. I have very large varicose veins. Don't I need them surgically stripped?


1.   What symptoms and complications can occur if varicose veins are left untreated?
 

Symptoms include leg tiredness, heaviness, aching, throbbing, restlessness, tingling, burning, itching, numbness, and swelling. Complications such as phlebitis, blood clots, dermatitis, bleeding and ulcers can occur if more severe problem veins are left untreated.

  
2.   But don´t we need all the veins we are born with?
 

Not in the legs. For every visible vein on your leg, there are many more under the skin. By sealing off the few abnormal veins from the many normal ones, the circulation is repaired and normalised.

  
3.   What if a vein is needed later for by-pass surgery?
 

There are many other arm and leg veins available for donor grafts. Surgeons use these healthy veins for by–pass surgery instead of a diseased varicose vein.

  
4.   What is sclerotherapy?
 

Sclerotherapy is the injection of small amounts of a special solution directly into unwanted veins. When performed properly, this begins a process whereby the treated veins collapse, and are later reabsorbed by the body´s natural healing response. It is an office procedure which requires no anaesthesia.

  
5.   What is the success rate for sclerotherapy?
 

In expert hands, close to 90%. Like other technical procedures the success of the procedure is to a large extent determined by the expertise of the treating doctor.

  
6.   Is sclerotherapy painful?
 

Because we use very small needles, and because Fibrovein does not induce the more severe post–injection burning like hypertonic saline, there is only minor discomfort. No anaesthesia is required.

  
7.   Is sclerotherapy safe for anyone?
 

The contraindications for sclerotherapy may include: pregnancy, inability to walk, allergy to the sclerosing agent and the inability or unwillingness to follow instructions.

  
8.   What about lasers for vein treatment?
 

Despite their proven usefulness in other procedures, the treatment of small surface leg veins by laser has thus far been disappointing. Endovenous Laser Ablation may be used for very large veins.

  
9.   What is the recuperative period?
 

There is none. The patient can return to work directly from the office, and carry on with normal activities immediately.

  
10.   How is ultrasound used to treat veins?
 

Duplex ultrasound imaging has emerged as the best way to locate the hidden diseased veins that cause the more obvious varicose veins on the skin surface. It also provides guidance for the precise injection of these abnormal veins, which otherwise would have to be surgically removed (Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy).

  
11.   Don´t some doctors treat just the bulging surface veins?
 

The older approach of treating just the visible surface veins is like trimming the leaves off a diseased branch instead of removing the branch; the leaves (veins in this case) will grow back, which is why this older method has been discarded by knowledgeable vein experts.

  
12.   If sclerotherapy didn´t work for me in the past does that mean it never will?
 

If you have leaks from your ceiling when it rains, and you kept patching the ceiling without first repairing the source at the roof, you wouldn´t be surprised to find your ceiling kept springing leaks every time it rained. Likewise, as stated in the above answer regarding large varicose veins, one must first eliminate the underlying diseased veins that feed the bulging surface veins to obtain a long term result.

  
13.   Does this also apply to spider veins?
 

In most cases, yes. However, for spider veins, the "feeding" veins are not deep. They are visible as larger, blue–green veins on the surface (reticular veins) similar to normal veins often visible along the arm. Many doctors performing sclerotherapy as a sideline either ignore or avoid treating these reticular veins and hence the results are less than optimal.

  
14.   Do you use saline for injection?
 

No. Although in expert hands saline may be effective for smaller spider veins it is not as effective for the larger reticular veins or varicose veins. For this reason the doctors in our clinic uses either Fibrovein™ or Polidocanol depending on the situation.

  
15.   Does treatment "cure" large varicose veins?
 

The veins that have been treated effectively will not return but other previously normal leg veins can deteriorate over time.

  
16.   Should a woman wait to treat her varicose veins until after all planned pregnancies?
 

Not necessarily. In some cases that would make as much sense as postponing treatment for diabetes or hypertension due to pregnancy. Treating any of these chronic conditions, including varicose veins, serves to gain control of the condition, thereby limiting damage to the target organs exacerbated by the normal physiologic stresses of pregnancy. Most phlebologists agree that treatment for varicose veins is best done before or between pregnancies.

  
17.   I am pregnant now and my leg veins are getting worse or new veins are appearing. What should I do?
 

Pregnant women who do have varicose veins sometimes find that their veins feel and look worse during the pregnancy. This can also be a time when they first notice the appearance of varicose or spider veins. These women should wear fitted medical compression stockings from the time that the pregnancy is confirmed and for several weeks after delivery. After the baby is born, they should see a phlebologist to decide on an appropriate treatment for their leg veins.

  
18.   What about unsightly veins on the face, hands, or breasts?
 

These may be suitable for treatment with sclerotherapy.

  
19.   I have very large varicose veins. Don't I need them surgically stripped?
 

The doctors at Central Vein and Cosmetic Medical Centre do not believe it necessary to surgically strip or pull out  (using ambulatory phlebectomy) any varicose veins.  Surgical ligation and stripping often involves placing a tie around the important junctions between the superficial saphenous veins and the deep veins. Our doctors believe that this procedure tends to cause new veins to arise from these junctions, leading to recurrence of varicose veins. Surgery also has increased risks, increased pain post treatment and inevitable scarring.  The latest techniques using laser and ultrasound guided injections are less painful, have lower rates of severe complications and do not cause scarring.

No vein is too large to be treated non-surgically.