Varicose veins are unsightly visible bulging veins in the lower limbs. For most people they are only a cosmetic concern, but they can become painful, or lead to leg swelling, pigmentation, bleeding, dermatitis, or even ulcers
They are primarily caused by a combination of genetics and age, but certain occupations which involve a lot of standing can make them more symptomatic.
The varicose veins become prominent due to an increase in pressure. The blood flow in healthy lower limb veins flows from the ankle to the groin, and does not fall back down due to the function of the vein valves. In varicose veins, these valves are not working properly, and so the entire weight of all the blood is pushing down on the veins below the knee, blowing them out and becoming conspicuous. In some people, this increase in pressure (venous hypertension) can lead to blood cells escaping into the tissues of the foot and lower leg, and breaking down to form a reddish-brown pigmentation. This also causes inflammation, leading to dermatitis or even ulceration.
The treatment of the varicose veins consists of two parts. Firstly, the backwards-flowing "feeding" veins (which are usually too deep under the skin to see without an ultrasound) must be destroyed, so that they cannot transmit the high pressure to the visible veins. Secondly, the visible veins are also treated, so that there should be minimal (if any) remnants of the original veins seen.
In order to treat these veins, we always get an ultrasound first, so that we can get a comprehensive idea of exactly which veins are working properly and which aren't, in order that your veins can be treated adequately in the minimum number of treatments. Usually we would prefer to perform the ultrasound on site at Gold Coast Vascular, as we have a very experienced sonographer who works exclusively with arteries and veins.
Dr Ward-Harvey will look at your legs clinically, and combine that with the ultrasound findings to propose the best modality of treatment tailored for you personally.
The four treatment modalities offered are:
Dr Ward-Harvey will need to see you and your ultrasound before being able to offer advice on which treatment will be best for you.