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Blog Post
January 10, 2019
Varicose Veins


You probably may have seen large veins popping at several places on people’s legs. This occurs when the valves in the veins do not function properly. This, in turn, will cause a huge obstruction in the flow of blood, causing them to enlarge.

This is a very common phenomenon. In fact, research has shown that over 23 percent of all adults are affected by varicose veins, most of which are pregnant women and people with excessive weight. Most of the time, it hardly needs treatment, except when it causes swelling, painful legs, aching and even varicose ulcers on the skin.

So do varicose veins on your legs cause you so much pain? Or are you just irritated at their sight?

Not to worry!  Here are some surgical and non-surgical procedures to help remove your worries:

  • Use of compression stockings: This is one of the commonest ways of managing varicose veins. The trick behind this special stockings is that it helps move blood through the veins by applying adequate pressure on them. If this does not provide the relief you need, other surgical alternatives may be considered.

  • Surgical procedures: Varicose veins can either by surgically closed off or removed using different methods. This greatly aids the blood to be re-directed to other healthy veins. It can either be done on superficial or deep veins. Here are the most common methods of removing varicose veins with a surgical procedure:

  1. Vein stripping: In this procedure, two cuts are made just below the groin (at the top of the leg) and behind the knee joint or sometimes at the ankle. Using vein litigation, the vein is tied at the top cut. Then a long wire is passed through the lower incision through the vein, and at the tail end, a small cap is attached to the wire. This enables the vein to be pulled out from the cut close to the groin.

  2. Phlebectomy: in this procedure, small cuts are created along the vein. Then a small hook is used the drag the vein out as far as possible and is cut into several pieces. This procedure is often used for small veins that usually branches of the parent veins.

The problem with our surgical procedures is that it has several side effects like swelling, skin discoloration, infection and nerve damage, coupled with the pain that one undergoes for the incisions and swellings to heal.

  • Radiofrequency ablation: This is done by creating a small incision above or below the knee. Then, using an ultrasound scan, a catheter (or narrow tube) is pushed into the vein. A probe, which gives off radiofrequency energy, is inserted into the catheter. This radiofrequency energy helps to heat up the vein, which causes the walls to collapse, thereby closing and sealing it shut. This procedure is often used for treating large varicose veins, and a local anesthetic is usually administered.

  1. Endovenous laser treatment: First, the doctor inserts a catheter into the vein of the patient. Then, a small laser is pushed through the catheter and fixed at the top of the target vein. This laser creates a short energy that heats up the vein, thereby sealing it shut. Then the doctor uses the ultrasound scan, and passes the laser all through the vein, closing it. There might also be nerve injury, but it is often brief. This method is also administered under a local anesthetic.

  2. Sclerotherapy: This is often used for smaller veins. A chemical is injected into small veins which closes them and normally leaves a scar that fades in a few weeks.

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