Vein Health &
Varicose veins are characterised by thick, swollen veins that usually appear in the legs. This condition occurs when increased pressure causes the walls of blood vessels to become weak. As the pressure increases, veins in the leg become more dilated and more visible as varicose veins.
Though varicose veins are caused by a weakening of the vein wall and can be related to hormonal imbalances, the condition is largely affected by the valves in your veins. Valves present in the veins of the legs help transport blood back to the heart against gravity. When the valves do not work properly, the backflow of blood can also distend and cause varicose veins.
The condition can sometimes be painless, but generally, symptoms include pain, swelling and itching in the legs. You may also experience a heavy feeling and fatigue in your legs, especially after prolonged periods of standing or sitting. In serious cases, wounds can also develop on the legs too.
Varicose Veins treatment at OptiVein
While the traditional treatment of varicose veins once involved surgery, we can now help you manage the condition using both thermal and non-thermal methods that are minimally invasive. These methods, however, do not prevent or cure varicose veins.
This increased pressure is known as venous hypertension. As the pressure increases, these veins become more dilated and subsequently become visible as varicose veins.
Varicose veins are a genetic condition. The actual cause is related to a change in the amount of elastin in a vein wall. Hormones may influence the progression of veins in some individuals. Veins in the leg transport blood back to the heart, against gravity, and to prevent backflow there are valves within the veins. If these valves do not work there is ‘backflow’ of blood which distends the veins resulting in varicose veins, fluid retention and other symptoms.
Common symptoms of varicose veins include leg pain, swollen ankles and feet, itching, heavy legs, tired and aching legs especially towards the end of the day or after prolonged periods of standing or sitting. If advanced, wounds may even occur or not heal on the legs.
The treatment of varicose veins has advanced significantly over the past couple of decades. Traditional treatment was invasive surgery that involved vein stripping with long recovery periods.
There are now minimally invasive techniques that treat veins and can mostly be done out of main theatre, under local anaesthetic and without the need for skin incisions or sutures
Radiofrequency Ablation: Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins that uses radiofrequency energy to heat and damage the walls inside the affected vein. This helps close off the varicose vein in the leg by directing radiofrequencies through a thin tube inserted in the vein. This form of treatment is used on large varicose veins and can be done under local anaesthetic. You will have to wear compression stockings for one week or more after this procedure.
UltraSound Guided Foam Sclerotherapy
Ultrasound-Guided Foam Sclerotherapy Foam is used to treat varicose veins and involves an injection made of sclerosant medication in foam form that includes microbubbles. The bubbles allow the sclerosant to sit on the surface of the veins and come in direct contact with the vein wall. The foam can be tracked via an ultrasound too, and this method is generally used for larger varicose veins. Multiple injections may be necessary.
Mechanochemical Ablation (MOCA) or ClariVein: ClariVein, or mechanochemical ablation, is a new treatment for varicose veins that combines mechanical destruction of the vein with a sclerosing agent. This method works to treat bulging varicose veins and their underlying causes.
ClariVein involves a special, thin catheter that is inserted into the vein using local anaesthetic. Radiofrequency energy and a sclerosing agent are then applied to the vein through this catheter to treat varicose veins. You can experience pain or a vibrating sensation during this procedure.
Veneseal is a type of glue that is inserted into varicose veins to seal them off. This is a new non-thermal type of treatment that involves little pain and no need for compression socks either. Veneseal can be used to treat most varicose veins, including ones that appear on the ankles.