Cosmetic Treatments for Varicose Veins
Thanks to advances in medical technology, cosmetic treatment for varicose veins can now often be carried out without surgery.
In many cases, varicose veins can be removed with laser treatment instead of conventional surgical vein stripping. Other options for individuals embarrassed by unsightly varicose veins include phlebectomy and sclerotherapy.
Here, you’ll find a quick overview of these treatments, but first, let’s look at the causes of varicose veins and the resulting problems.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged veins that mainly affect the legs, with a purple or blue appearance.
Veins carry blood to your heart, with valves that only allow flow in one direction. Valves in leg veins have to work hard to pump blood all the way to the heart, and problems arise when they weaken and don’t close properly.
Faulty valves that cause varicose veins are often in the two large veins running along the length of the leg just beneath the skin. Blood flows backwards and
pools in the veins, enlarging the valves.
Varicose veins tend to run in families. The problem can be aggravated if you’re overweight, and more women than men get varicose veins, particularly during or after pregnancy.
Problems That Varicose Veins Cause
Varicose veins can cause your legs to ache and feel heavy, sometimes with a throbbing or burning sensation.
Other problems caused by varicose veins include:
- Swollen ankles
- Muscle cramp in the legs, especially at night.
- Flaky, itchy skin over the affected area.
Symptoms of varicose veins usually worsen in warm weather, particularly if you've been on your feet a long time.
Although varicose veins can be uncomfortable, they don’t generally cause a serious health issue. According to the NHS, unless the problem causes discomfort or complications such as leg ulcers, you may not need to see your doctor.
Because the NHS regards varicose veins as largely a cosmetic issue, it’s unlikely you’ll get free treatment, so many people seek private cosmetic solutions.
Varicose Vein Private Treatment Options
Top private varicose vein clinics can be found both in the UK and abroad for medical tourists. Treatment usually entails the removal of the affected veins, which won’t affect your circulation because blood will flow through other veins.
Varicose vein treatments include:
EVLA (Endovenous Laser Ablation)
Endovenous laser treatment is a minimally invasive procedure to eliminate varicose veins. Carried out with local anaesthetic, EVLA locates the damaged area with ultrasound and then collapses the vein wall with laser-generated heat.
Depending on how many veins are being treated, the EVLA procedure generally takes about one hour.
EVLA has a high success rate – more than 95 per cent – and is considered by the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as the gold standard of varicose vein treatment.
Patients who have EVLA can usually resume most everyday activities within 24 hours of treatment.
A phlebectomy entails making small cuts to facilitate removal of varicose veins – usually large, bulging veins near the surface of the leg.
A hook is inserted through the incisions and attached to a section of the vein, which is then taken out.
Phlebectomy is carried out with local anaesthesia and the incisions are so small that no sutures are required. The procedure takes from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the severity of the problem.
VenaSeal is an innovative treatment designed to treat problems with the great saphenous vein (GSV) – the largest vein in the body. It uses a special medical glue that seals the varicose veins so blood flows through other, healthy veins.
VenaSeal is minimally invasive and can be performed in just 15 minutes by an experienced VenaSeal specialist, without any special anaesthetic injections. Because no heat is used, VenaSeal eliminates the risk of nerve damage.
Sclerotherapy reduces the effects of vein damage and makes varicose veins less visible. It involves injecting a solution into the veins that makes them shrink. This solution is an irritant called a sclerosant that causes the vein to swell, cutting off blood flow so the vein then contracts.
Sclerotherapy can take two forms:
- Liquid sclerotherapy – for small varicose veins.
- Foam sclerotherapy – for larger veins.
The procedure generally takes less than 30 minutes and is done with local anaesthetic.
Varicose Vein Surgery
Surgery to remove varicose veins is usually performed under general anaesthetic and takes 20 minutes to three hours.
It involves accessing and stripping out the vein via small incisions on the back of the knee or in the groin.
Patients are usually able to go home the same day or the following day and return to work within a few days.
Choosing the Varicose Vein Treatment That’s Best for You
With the multiple options in varicose vein treatment available today, it can be difficult to decide which one is right for your specific needs and desired outcome.
If you have larger varicose veins, laser treatment – or radiofrequency treatment – provides a non-surgical alternative to vein stripping.
Smaller varicose veins and spider veins are typically treated with sclerotherapy or laser therapy.
In some cases, a combination of treatments may work best.
Non-Surgical Alternative Treatments for Varicose Veins
To fully round out our considerations of Varicose vein treatment, we should mention some herbal and lifestyle options that might alleviate the problem and avoid surgery or at least delay it.
as with so many medical conditions, regular exercise can help in the management of varicose veins. High blood pressure is often a factor in varicose veins and exercise is a proven way to bring down your blood pressure over the long term. Swimming and cycling are particularly effective in this regard.
Herbal and Alternative Diets
There are many organisations that will tell you that varicose veins can be managed or, indeed, eliminated by changing diet or adding more flavinoids to your system Every week we come across new schemes to solve the problem. Here is a one that might be worth checking out , although the scientific evidence is quite sparse, but it sounds good. Reducing water retention can also help. Salty or sodium-rich foods can cause the body to retain water, so cutting down on salty food can minimize water retention. Foods high in potassium can help to reduce water retention. Personally I quite like the sound of Varicorin which is produced by a reputable health foods company.
Finding an experienced varicose vein clinic will enable you to make an informed decision about your treatment options, in consultation with an expert in the field.