Many patients do not realise they have a complication of venous disease until they see a phlebologist. It is important to understand that varicose veins can be a progressive condition and that new diseased veins can develop with time.
Severe varicose veins are large bulgy veins associated with changes in the skin and soft tissue of the lower leg.
What are some of the signs and symptoms of severe varicose veins?
Complications of Venous Disease
- Venous Dermatitis
Eczema of the vein
Swelling of the leg
Discolouration of the skin
Thickening of the skin of the lower leg or ankle
- Venous Ulceration
Localised or extensive breakdowns of the skin barrier, particularly around the ankle region
- Phlebitis and Cellulitis
Severe inflammation and infection of the vein
Inflammation and blood clotting of a vein
Patients with severe venous disease may have signs such as venous eczema (venous dermatitis), swelling in the leg (oedema), discolouration of the skin (hyperpigmentation), thickening of the skin of the lower leg or ankle (lipodermatosclerosis), and localised or extensive break downs of the skin barrier, particularly around the ankle region (venous ulceration.) As well as this, patients can experience heaviness, aching and tiredness in the legs.
If left untreated, these symptoms are likely to become worse with advancing age.
Lipodermatosclerosis can greatly affect the health of the lower leg and lead to complications such as severe inflammation (phlebitis) and infection (cellulitis); varicose veins can form clots (thrombophlebitis) and venous ulcers can become quite troublesome and difficult to treat, particularly when they bleed, weep or become infected.
How do I get rid of them?
- Ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy is an essential and effective treatment for serious venous disease. It is extremely important when treating varicose vein networks in and around areas affected by dermatitis, hyperpigmentation, lipodermatosclerosis and ulceration.
- Ambulatory phlebectomy is also extremely useful for the larger varicose veins in advanced disease. Most patients will need several treatments to get the best result possible.
How can I prevent varicose veins?
Patients who have varicose veins are predisposed to developing them at birth. The best thing to do to manage them conservatively (in other words, without having any treatment) is to ensure that you get enough rest, eat a healthy diet, and keep your weight down. This will help your overall health, including your veins.
Do I need to treat varicose veins? Isn't this just cosmetic?
Many patients complain about their varicose veins being ugly - however, we need to be clear we are dealing with a medical issue that can become worse over time, and lead to severe complications.
Will they come back?
Generally speaking, the veins that are treated with laser or sclerotherapy do not usually come back. The challenge is to prevent a recurrence of the problem in other veins. Vein Health Medical Clinic manages this in two ways:
- Following up procedures with ultrasound examinations, to confirm the success of the treatment and to determine if there are any other veins present which can become a problem in the future.
- Avoiding procedures such as traditional surgery, which can more often than not lead to the development of new veins.
What are the costs involved in the treatments?
The expected costs of treatment will be outlined to you after the initial consultation. Rebates are claimable through Medicare except for the smallest spider veins. The patient will not require time off work and the treatments have a high success rate.