We’ve welcomed the new year and our wonderful Aussie summer is well underway. The shorts, skirts, and summer dresses are out in force, perhaps exposing varicose veins again. If you have a few varicose veins showing up on the surface of your legs, you’re probably familiar with the symptoms; the itching, the dermatitis, pain, swelling, and maybe restless legs and cramping in bed at night. Depending on how advanced they are, you may also experience discolouration of the skin (hyperpigmentation), thickening of the skin of the lower leg or ankle (lipodermatosclerosis), and a breaking down of the skin barrier, particularly around the ankle region (venous ulceration).

Is there anything to the miracle cure claims?

There are plenty of “miracle cures” and old wives’ tales promising to fix varicose veins, from ointments and poultices, to vitamin supplements. Some of these may give short-term relief from the symptoms, (eg: reducing swelling) but they will not resolve the problem. The truth is varicose veins do not heal on their own. They will require medical intervention to restore circulation to normal.

What are the medical treatments for varicose veins?

Now is a great time to do something about your varicose veins. The treatments available have never been better, with most being walk-in, walk-out, procedures which can be completed in under an hour. The days of invasive and painful varicose vein treatments are gone.

The procedures most commonly undertaken in our clinic involve sealing off the diseased vein, so it can reroute blood through other veins and heal over completely. One of these procedures include the administering of medical adhesive to permanently seal off the problematic vein. What happens then is the vein hardens, heals and is absorbed back into the body. There is no downtime for patients, in fact, walking after the procedure is encouraged.

Another method is sealing off the diseased vein using a sclerosant solution, injected into the problem vein under ultrasound guidance. Working in a similar way to medical adhesive, the vein wall collapses and is sealed closed. The blood reroutes through nearby vessels, the vein dissolves and disappears as the body gradually absorbs it.

Another common treatment is Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA). Again, under ultrasound guidance, a laser fibre is inserted into the diseased vein, the laser is activated. The laser produces a reaction in the vein wall causing it to collapse and be sealed. Again, blood is rerouted through other veins and the problem vein heals and is absorbed into the body.

Your phlebologist will decide on the ideal treatment for your condition, based on its severity, depth and size of vein, etc.

Key Takeaways