Varicose Veins

What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged blood vessels that form beneath the skin surface. The one-way valves in the veins that would normally channel the blood back to the heart do not function properly, causing the blood to ‘pool’ in the veins. This pooling stretches the veins, creating swollen and twisted blood vessels that appear under the skin as blue, rope-like veins. These veins can become large and unattractive and can produce symptoms such as tired, heavy, aching, burning, itching or cramping legs.

How are Varicose Veins treated?

The choice of which treatment is best for and individual may vary depending on a number of factors including the size and position of the varicose veins and whether there are any underlying blood flow or reflux problems.

What are the treatment options?

Varicose veins can be treated by surface sclerotherapy if there is no significant underlying venous pathology.

When varicose veins are associated with underlying venous pathology then to control and manage these deeper veins will require either Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy (UGS)EndoVenous Laser Treatment (EVLT) or Radiofrequency.

Whilst at the Cosmetic & laser Medical Centre we specialise in minimally invasive leg vein treatments without surgery there may be certain individual patients where a surgical option may need to be considered and if necessary appropriate referral can be provided.

What if I have both Varicose Veins & Spider Veins?

Treating the underlying varicose veins will not usually result in any significant reduction in spider veins. Generally to achieve optimal results the underlying varicose veins are managed first and then spider veins are treated as secondary procedure.

How are Varicose Veins Treated?

With modern technology nearly all Varicose Vein Treatment can be performed in a Leg Vein clinic without hospital, surgery or downtime. Whilst some quite large Varicose Veins can be treated by surface injections, the majority of Varicose Vein treatment is of the deeper underlying Varicose Veins. To target veins below the surface of the skin Ultrasound technology is used to visualise the deeper veins.

Varicose Vein treatment using ultrasound imaging are generically called Ultrasound Guided or EndoVenous and there are 3 main methods: Injections, Laser and Radiofrequency. The choice of which Ultrasound Guided treatment for Varicose Veins is most appropriate in each individual patient is determined with the help of the detailed information from a Mapping Scan.

Ultrasound Guided injections are called Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy (abbreviated as UGS). This treatment is the most straightforward of the Ultrasound Guided treatments and is the treatment of choice if past surgical stripping has been performed, for branches (tributaries) of the main drainage veins and for less severely damaged valve problems in the main veins.

Ultrasound Guided Laser and Ultrasound Guided Radiofrequency are both methods of delivering heat to the inside of Varicose Veins to shut down and seal off these veins. These procedures are used to treat the main drainage veins and target Varicose Veins that in the past would have required surgical stripping. Both of these treatments can be done within a Leg Vein clinic without needing hospitalisation or a general anaesthetic. A small catheter is inserted into the skin, and either a laser fibre or radiofrequency fibre is guided by ultrasound imaging into the Varicose Vein being treated. The Varicose Vein can then be heated to seal off the damaged vein. Patients are able to walk immediately after these treatments and return to work the next day.

The use of acrylic glue as an injection technique to seal off Varicose Veins (called VENASEAL) is a newer option that can be considered. However as yet the long term results compared to the more established treatments has not been demonstrated. It is also a more expensive option as it is not covered by any Medicare rebate.

What are the likely costs?

Generally speaking expect the out of pocket expenses with Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy to be around $750-$1000 per leg. For catheter procedures with Laser or Radiofrequency expect the out of pocket cost to be around $2500 for one leg and $4500 if both legs are treated. For more information on the leg vein treatment and costs, see our spider vein treatments page.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

 

WHAT CAUSES LEG VEINS AND WHEN DO YOU GET THEM?

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.

CAN YOU HAVE BOTH SPIDER VEINS AND VARICOSE VEINS?

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.

WHY TREAT LEG VEINS?

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.

ARE LEG VEIN PROBLEMS MORE COMMON IN WOMEN?

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.

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

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