Non-surgical treatment spider veins, varicose veins & venous ulcers
Varicose and spider veins are common in the general community. There are three common types, which are frequently seen in combination. ‘spider veins’ are the finest and are usually fed by larger ‘reticular veins’ which are under the skin. ‘varicose veins’ are the largest, often bulge above the skin surface and are normally due to a weakness in the vein wall. There are many symptoms associated with varicose veins, which include heaviness, burning, aching, stinging, throbbing, restless legs and leg cramps.
Advantage of non-surgical treatment:
- No general anaesthetic
- Walk-in, walk-out procedure
- Return to normal duties immediately
- High safety profile
- Minimal surgical scarring
- All treatments at Brighton Day Surgery are performed by Dr Lisa Marks who is a fellow of the Australasian College of Phlebology and Dr Lynton Stephens who does microsclerotherapy treatment.
Your first visit
At your first appointment the doctor will carefully assess your medical history and perform a thorough physical examination with attention to your areas of concern. If varicose veins are present then a duplex ultrasound scan will be ordered so that the exact nature of the abnormality can be determined accurately. A discussion to explain the findings of the mapping scan and the planned treatment will follow, usually in a second appointment. Detailed information will be discussed and provided in written form for your better understanding.
How do the non-surgical treatment methods work?
Medical detergents are able to be made into a foamed solution. Foam is more effective than liquid sclerotherapy but may not suit every patient. This will be discussed in your consultation.
Is a method where the doctor uses an extremely fine needle to inject a solution called a sclerosant directly into unwanted abnormal veins. This creates a change in the vein lining that causes the vein walls to collapse, which then disappears gradually as the body absorbs it.
Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy
For the treatment of larger varicose veins requires the assistance of ultrasound technology to guide precise placement of the injections into the abnormal veins, which are hidden below the skin. The sclerosant again causes a change in the vein lining that leads to the gradual absorption of the veins.
Is minimally invasive, it uses a laser fibre put inside the varicose vein. It causes closure of the vein with heat energy. It is usually done in combination with ultrasound guided sclerotherapy.
Post Treatment Care
Most non-surgical leg vein treatments are followed by the application of compression stockings. These should be worn for 1-3 week depending on the treatment provided. All patients are advised to walk regularly after treatment.
In trained hands non-surgical varicose veins treatment has become a brief office procedure providing another option to the hospitalisation required for surgical stripping.
Your questions answered
Does the injection hurt?
There is some minor discomfort felt during the treatment.
Does the vein treatment interfere with my work or home duties?
This is a walk-in, walk-out procedure. Treatments take up to 30 minutes to perform, after which you will need to go for a 30 minute walk. Following treatment your daily routine should not be disrupted, however heavy physical exercise or workloads should be avoided for about 2 weeks following each treatment.
What if I do not treat my varicose veins?
Vein disease is progressive which, if left untreated, is likely to become worse with time. Increasing symptoms and complications may occur.
Do I need these veins?
Varicose veins and spider veins are not functional. Once veins become abnormal our body find alternative pathways with healthy veins to carry blood. You can never run out of veins. Varicose veins are not missed by the circulation; in fact it improves without them.
Will the treated veins come back?
Treated correctly, the veins will not come back as the body has absorbed them. New veins however, may appear with time. How quickly and how many appear depends on whether you have inherited veins that are more likely to deteriorate. Other factors such as starting the pill, becoming pregnant or occupations with prolonged standing can affect the development of abnormal veins.
Should I wait until I have completed my family?
Becoming pregnant with existing varicose veins will only lead to veins becoming significantly worse as the pregnancy develops. Phebologists agree that treatment for varicose veins is best performed before or between pregnancies.
Is it covered by private health insurance?
No, sclerotherapy is considered an outpatient procedure, therefore it is not covered by private health insurance. However you will receive a medicare rebate for each procedure. Endovenous Laser Ablation under sedation may be covered by your private health insurance. Speak to your doctor at a consultation for more information.
About vein treatment practitioners
It is advisable to ensure that your treating doctor is a member of the Australasian College of Phlebology and is credentialed to perform the proposed treatment option (www.phleobology.com.au). Dr Marks is a Fellow of the Australasian College of Phlebology.