When you are young you may not think ahead to the time when you will develop varicose veins or need to seek the services of vein doctors. But, as you get older it is likely that you will see signs of them starting. Women in particular need to be prepared for when they arrive, as they are the gender who will most likely suffer from them. There are many forms of treatment, some well-established, others quite new and these include laser vein ablation and surgery.
How and when they form
By the time people turn 50 years, it is very likely that there will be at least the first showing of these veins that are going to totally change the appearance of their legs. The veins will no longer appear to be a shade of blue and lie well below the skin, but will now be located near to the surface. The look of them will change as well. No longer will they be small and straight, but will have an engorged appearance and in some cases can be described as looking like lengths of rope.
They will now seem to be more of a red or purple color rather than blue, and while some may not be too large and warrant treatment right away from vein doctors. Overtime they can become worse and prevent the sufferer from wanting anyone else to be able to see their legs due to the severity of the varicose veins. Luckier people will only have spider veins, and while these can be seen, they are much smaller and less likely to cause the problems that fully developed varicose veins do.
It will help to understand who it is that is likely to develop them, as it is not just going to be women. You need to understand what causes varicose veins so that you can give yourself the best chance of dealing with them.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
- Age – Regardless of gender, 50 will be a turning point.
- Lifestyle –Being too active or too sedentary can begin the damage.
- Pregnancy –The ones that develop during pregnancy may fade, but if there are multiple pregnancies, then the damage will have been done.
- Weight – The heavier you are the more damage you are going to do to the veins and valves that deal with blood flow.
Issues caused by the veins
A lot of the time, it is the appearance of the veins that are the problem. There can be other health issues arising from them, but by and large they can be treated easily and not require a lot of time away from work. There can be problems with the blood that enters a damaged vein as often there is nowhere for it to go other than back down towards the ankles. Here it will pool, and the ankles can swell as well as the skin taking on a dark and unsightly brown color.
It will be your decision when you get in touch with vein doctors as there are certain trigger points for different people. It could be that you can’t deal with the way the veins look, so want to get rid of them right away, or it could only happen when there is pain or it becomes clear that there are other problems starting. There are many forms of treatment, but not all will be suitable for everyone. The first suggestion may be to try compression stockings and try a few lifestyle changes that may help.
As it will not be possible to change things such as gender or age, but when it comes to lifestyle or diet there will always be scope to make an improvement. With a sufficient weight loss and a change in the amount of time you are seated or standing, you could find that you do not have to undergo a special procedure. If it turns out that you do need to visit vein doctors there will be plenty of choices and nothing that you need to be concerned about. The vein doctor will carry out the least invasive option that will work for you.
There will be no rushed decisions, and you will have the chance to discuss what is being suggested. All avenues will be covered and providing you are honest with the vein doctors when you answer the many questions that you will be asked, you should soon be on the road to recovery. They will neither expect you to suffer more than you already have, nor suggest treatment you do not need.
If you are unsure which vein doctors will provide you with the best treatment, you should be able to carry out research. Here you can find out what services they provide and their level of experience; and, there will be sites where you can read reviews from former patients. A lot of the details can be cleaned from their own website and this will cover areas such as the work they have done and any past experience they have.
Symptoms of varicose veins
There can be various symptoms with varicose veins, and it can be the case that they get worse the longer the veins have been in place. Normally there will be:
- A change of color
- Veins that are thick and unsightly
- Blood pools near to the ankles
You will also undergo a number of tests to ensure that there is nothing more serious causing the varicose veins. If anything is found, a specialist in that field will be brought in. If not, and your varicose vein treatment goes ahead, the likely options will be:
- Sclerotherapy – A form of injection
- Radiofrequency ablation – Heat will seal the veins
- EVLA –Endovenous Laser vein ablation therapy
- Venaseal – This is a medical adhesive that will seal the veins
Varicose veins – endovenous laser therapy
Endovenous laser therapy has a number of names and will be used to describe various treatments. All will be perfectly safe, and it is more than likely that your vein doctor will have carried them out on a regular basis for some time. With this form of laser vein ablation, you wont even have to go to hospital.
Laser vein ablation is not the most established form of treating varicose veins, but it is very popular as it works well and means that there is no need for surgery. It will unfortunately not be suitable for everyone. But, if your vein doctor believes that this is for you, it will mean you only need limited invasive treatment rather than actual surgery. Once it has been decided that this will be best for you, you can start to discuss the process with your vein doctors.
There will have to be a special reason why you cannot have this as it is a treatment that will be suitable for virtually everyone. If you have had a number of other surgeries to try and get rid of varicose veins and they are coming back regularly, then it could be that you will be offered a different way to get rid of them. Normally you will be offered sclerotherapy and as with laser vein ablation, this should all be explained to you.
What will happen during laser vein ablation?
You should meet with your vein doctors and allow them to find out everything they need to know about you. This will also be your chance to question them and ask everything you need to know about laser vein ablation before you start. You should be told the following process:
- First of all, there will be an ultrasound carried out and this will show where the damaged veins are. Once identified, they will be marked up so that the vein doctors know where to cut and which veins to treat.
- Once in the room where the laser vein ablation will happen, you will be on a couch – you may not be in the most comfortable position, but it will depend upon where the veins are in the leg.
- As the vein doctors have to get inside the vein, they will have to give you anesthetic, but this can be a local, as the procedure will be simple.
- Once the vein is pinpointed, a wire will be sent through the needle and into the vein. Then a catheter will be placed over the vein and then the wire is taken out.
- The laser fiber is then heated and pulled down from the top to the bottom of the problem vein. There is no need to worry about the safety of the laser as both you and the vein doctors will be wearing protective glasses. This part will usually take around 5 minutes to complete.
- It could be that you are having both legs treated at the same time, so the process will then be repeated for the other leg.
- Once the vein doctors are sure that they have managed to seal the veins correctly, they will take out the catheter and dress the small wound.
It is likely that there will be a smell of burning while laser vein ablation is happening, but there is nothing to worry about – there will not be any damage done – other than to the damaged veins. You should allow up to thirty minutes for each leg to be treated and once they have been treated, you will have compression stockings provided and very soon will be able to go home.
Post laser vein ablation
Once the vein doctors have checked that the compression stockings are correctly fitted, you will be able to go home. Driving is not recommended, so if there is not a good public transport link, you should arrange for someone to give you a lift. You will likely have to keep wearing the compression stockings for around 14 days and follow the advice that you will have been given by vein doctors when it comes to bathing the legs.
It should be possible to go back to work the same day and carry out normal activities. Clearly it will be sensible not to rush back to the gym and certainly swimming in not allowed. Pain is likely for the following few days, but providing it is just in the area where the damaged vein used to be that is to be expected and not a cause for concern. The only medication that should be needed will be over the counter pain killers.
Lasers used for laser vein ablation
It is likely that you will have the same sort of laser wherever you have your laser vein ablation carried out. Suppliers of the more recent models say there will be less pain, and while this will be good if it is true, there is not a lot of pain anyway. Using new treatments will be ideal, with the only downside being the lack of information as to how accurate it will be in the long term. Normally it is explained that there could be the need for additional treatment and the more often they are treated the better the legs will look. It could be as short as 4 weeks later that the next course of treatment will take place.
It is unlikely that there will be any serious complications. There can be blood clots but they will not last long and the body will take them back after a short while. The vein will be hard and sore, but you should be able to cope for a short time. There can be nerve damage, but again this is rare. The leg will feel numb for a short while and then return to normal. There can be burns caused by the laser, but there are very few cases of this. A few unlucky people can get deep vein thrombosis and this must be dealt with. There can be serious problems if it manages to work its way to the heart or lungs. There is nothing that should put you off having this treatment, providing you use a fully trained and registered doctor.