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Varicose or Spider Veins

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Many people are troubled by unsightly and/or painful veins in their legs. When leg veins become enlarged and dilated they can become visible on the surface of the skin and they are termed surface veins. These surface veins can range from small thin veins (spider veins) to large thick veins (varicose veins).

WHAT ARE SPIDER VEINS?

Spider veins are smaller blood vessels that occur on the surface of the skin. The term spider refers to the vein’s “spidery” appearance like an intricate network of roads you would find on a map. Spider veins are unsightly and can look even look like permanent bruises.

For more information visit our page on Spider Veins

WHAT ARE VARICOSE VEINS?

Varicose veins are larger blue blood vessels that occur on the surface of the skin. When more severe they can protrude excessively from the skin to form grape-like bumps. Varicose veins are typically formed from underlying deeper vein problems and can occur at any age but usually worsen as we get older.

For more information visit our page on Varicose Veins

WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR LEG VEINS?

In the past Surgical Stripping of Varicose Veins was a very common operation, but in modern leg vein practices surgery has become largely obsolete. This is because of the development of very effective non-surgical alternatives that can be safely performed in the clinic rather than hospital, without anaesthetic and with minimal downtime. The treatment of Varicose Veins involves treating veins below the surface of the skin and to do this without surgery involves the use of ultrasound technology to guide the treatment. These ultrasound guided procedures are sometimes collectively called EndoVenous treatments. The ultrasound can guide a fine needle to inject a solution to seal off the vein and this is called Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy (abbreviated as UGS). The ultrasound can also guide a small catheter inserted inside the vein which can be used to deliver heat to the inside of the Varicose Vein to shut down and close off the leaky valves. The heat to seal off the Varicose vein can be generated by a Laser, in which case it is called EndoVenous Laser Therapy ( abbreviated as EVLT). The necessary heat to seal off deep veins can also be generated by a Radiofrequency device, in which case it is called the VENEFIT or CLOSUREFAST procedure. Spider veins can be treated directly on the surface of the skin without the need for ultrasound guidance. There are 3 methods of effectively removing Spider Leg Veins

THE TOP 7 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

1. Unwanted Leg Veins are a very common condition found in both Women and Men and they can vary greatly in size and colour from tiny red spider veins to large blue varicose veins.

2. Treatments are generally sought due to symptoms such as aching or swelling, unsightly appearance and to prevent future health problems or complications.

3. The appropriate treatment option is best determined after a specialised Leg Vein Consultation and usually requires ultrasound scanning.

4. With modern technology nearly all Leg Veins can be treated in a clinic without hospital, surgery or downtime. The optimal treatment varies depending on the size of veins, the area being treated and whether there are any underlying deep vein problems.

5. The 3 main modern non-surgical treatment methods are Sclerotherapy, Laser therapy or Radiofrequency. Choice requires balancing the simplest and easiest treatment with the treatment that will give the best long term results.

6. Successful management of leg veins typically requires follow up maintenance treatments. If you have a tendency to develop leg veins in the first instance, there will be a tendency for more veins to develop in the future.

7. Cost and out of pocket expenses vary substantially between different treatment options. Some vein treatments can be more cost effective than others and this is something you need to discuss with a doctor experienced in the full range of leg vein treatment options.

LEG VEIN SERVICES AND COSTS

Leg Vein Consultation

Meet with a Doctor to discuss your individual case and requirements
$190 (Medicare rebate available)

Specialised Mapping

If additional scanning is needed to further identify vein problem areas. One leg is $350 where as both is $450
$350-$450 (Medicare rebate available)

Surface Sclerotherapy

Can qualify for Medicare rebate depending on the size of the veins
$320 per treatment

Surface Laser/Radiofrequency

No Medicare rebate and GST of 10% is applicable
$363 per treatment

Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy

$950 for initial treatment and then $350 for all subsequent treatments within 12 month of the initial treatment. Medicare provides a partial rebate
$950 and $350 thereafter

Catheter Guided Laser/Radiofrequency

Medicare provides a partial rebate and out of pocket expenses may be able to be claimed on income tax return
$3000-$5700

Frequently Asked Questions

Many factors play a part in the development of leg veins and over 50% of all people will develop surface and/or varicose veins at some time in their life. There is a significant relationship between heredity and the development of both conditions, meaning that if your parents or grandparents have experienced the condition, there is a greater likelihood you will develop it also. The conditions can occur at any age but usually commence between the ages of 18 – 35 years and peak between 50 - 60 years of age.

Yes, it is not uncommon to have both Spider veins and Varicose veins at the same time as both conditions are very common. The development of one condition has no bearing on the development of the other, however if both types of veins are present it can influence the treatment plan. Generally speaking if both Varicose and Spider veins need to be treated the larger Varicose veins are treated first.

There are a number of reasons that prompt patients to have Varicose Veins and Spider Veins treated. The commonest two reasons are either the unsightly appearance of the Leg Veins or unwanted symptoms caused by the Leg Veins. Many people want their Varicose Veins or Spider Veins treated because they are troubled by both the unsightly appearance of the leg veins as well as symptoms. Leg Veins can be associated with a variety of symptoms such as aching, heaviness, cramping or tired legs. Leg Veins can also cause swelling of the legs. Symptoms associated with Leg Veins typically worsen over the course of the day and are more severe in hot weather. In severe cases of Leg Veins complications can occur such as skin discolouration, dermatitis, bleeding, skin ulcers and blood clots. Some patients want to treat their Leg Veins to prevent problems occurring in the future. This is common in the context of having a family member or a friend who has had problems with their Varicose Veins or Spider Veins.

Leg vein disorders occur commonly in both males and females but the incidence is significantly higher in women. Hormonal factors seem important in the development of Spider veins and pregnancy can be a major trigger for the development or worsening of Varicose veins.. During pregnancy several factors seem important, there is an increased blood volume in the circulation, the enlarged uterus tends to compress veins in the pelvic area causing leg veins to become enlarged and hormone changes can affect the vein wall causing distension and valve damage or leakage. After delivery Varicose veins can improve but each successive pregnancy seems to worsen the condition and the level of improvement after delivery becomes progressively less.

People who are involved with prolonged sitting or standing in their daily activities also seem to have an increased risk of developing varicose veins.

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