Varicose vein is one of the most common venous disease in the legs, affecting 1 out of every 5 adults.
Varicose veins are twisted, swollen veins, which usually appear in the lower legs, but can affect any part of the body. This condition occurs when the valves that direct the blood flow in the veins are weak or damaged, resulting in the decreased blood flow to the heart, and subsequent backing up of blood within the veins, leading to the enlargement of the veins.
Varicose veins may be painful for some individuals; they are usually presented as:
Following a physical examination, the doctor may prescribe the following tests to diagnose varicose veins:
Varicose veins can be treated by certain medications, lifestyle changes and surgical procedures.
The lifestyle changes include:
Using compression socks or stockings can also help treat varicose veins.
Surgery is opted when lifestyle changes are not effective in managing the symptoms of varicose veins. Most surgical procedures, including vein ligation and vein stripping, involve cutting and removing the affected part of the veins.
The other procedures performed to treat Varicose Veins include:
Endovenous ablation therapy, in which radiofrequency or heat radiation is used to block off the vein.
Sclerotherapy, wherein a chemical foam or liquid is injected into the vein that blocks the larger vein.
Microsclerotherapy, wherein a chemical foam or liquid is injected into the block of the smaller veins.
Laser therapy, in which Light Frequency Radiation is used to unblock the blocked vein.
Endoscopic Vein Surgery, in which a small lighted scope is inserted into the vein to block the vein, through a small incision.
Inform your healthcare provider about:
Ask the doctor about:
Your healthcare team may give you guidelines for when to stop eating and drinking before the procedure. You may be asked to stop taking aspirin or other blood thinning agents at least one week before the procedure.
Radiofrequency ablation is a procedure which uses radio waves to create heat and block the damaged vein.
The following are the steps involved in radiofrequency ablation procedure:
The procedure takes about 45 to 60 minutes. You can go home on the same day.
You may experience pain, swelling, bruising, soreness and change in the colour of the treated area. Individuals treated for vein ligation and stripping may experience severe pain, infection, scarring and blood clots after the procedure. Seek immediate medical attention/care if the condition worsens.
After the procedure:
Individuals above fifty years of age are at an increased risk of recurrence of varicose veins within five years of having surgery. However, following a low-salt diet helps to prevent swelling and water retention in the limbs.
After the procedure, you may be asked to restrict doing strenuous activities. But prolonged inactivity may cause the formation of clots and pain. Therefore, following a regular exercise plan, as suggested by your doctor, helps to regain normalcy in the limbs and prevent recurrence of the varicose veins.