At Leg Vein Clinic Australia, we have compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions we receive from our patients.
If you have a specific question for us, please call 0401 009 405.
Click on the question to read the answer.
Are varicose veins a serious medical concern?
Varicose vein disease is a common medical complaint. It is not simply a cosmetic condition, and if left untreated can cause serious complications such as blood clots, varicose eczema, hardening and scarring of the skin and fat, and leg ulcers.
What causes Varicose and Spider leg veins?
Visible leg veins can be caused by genetics, pregnancy, prolonged standing or crossing the legs, hormones, trauma, or an overweight body amongst others. A regular walking routine and nutritious diet is beneficial in preventing leg veins. It is also important to maintain these routines when pregnant or travelling to avoid pressure on the leg area.
How are varicose veins formed?
Varicose veins are abnormally dilated blood vessels that are swollen and misshaped due to increased venous pressure in the legs. They appear as raised and twisted clusters of purple and blue veins that can be painful and lead to blood clots. The underlying cause of varicose veins is a valve weakness. Valves within veins allow blood to flow upward to the heart but usually close and prevent blood flowing backwards toward the feet under gravitational force. Varicose veins develop when these valves stop working properly; they leak backwards and become incompetent. This leads to higher pressure within the veins below the incompetent valve, due to pooling of the blood and consequently varicose veins develop.
Valve weakness is most often caused by: genetic tendency; pregnancy; prolonged standing or crossing of legs; hormones; trauma; being overweight; and smoking.
The source of the problem needs to be diagnosed and treated effectively, to maximise long term, good results of leg vein treatments.
How are spider veins formed?
Spider veins are a mild version of varicose veins that sit beneath the surface of the legs and do not rise. They are caused by the same factors that cause varicose veins. This can include prolonged standing on hard floors, hormonal influences during pregnancy, prolonged sitting with legs crossed, the use of birth control pill or from being overweight. Their appearance is tangled and can look similar to a spider’s web or sprawled tree branches on the surface of the skin. They do not pose as serious concern to your health but can be considered as a cosmetic concern.
What are problematic pregnancy veins?
Varicose veins in pregnancy may cause aching and discomfort, not only through the legs, but also around the groin or even vulval area. Risks and complications such as superficial or deep vein thrombo-phlebitis (clotting and inflammation) are increased. These issues may also arise or worsen around delivery time. Veins can arise after long periods of standing and added pressure on the legs – especially when pregnant. Before and during pregnancy, we advise a regular walking routine and healthy weight maintenance to prevent the cause of varicose and spider veins. In cases where immediate treatment is not possible, compression stockings may be of assistance.
What is a Phlebologist?
Phlebologists specialise in the management of varicose veins and can offer you a range of treatment options. They are focused in the study, diagnosis and treatment of veins; including; varicose and spider vein problems as well as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
What is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is the treatment of veins in the legs and elsewhere using an injection of sclerosing solution into the vein. This treatment is used particularly for varicose and spider veins. This treatment has advanced remarkably in recent years with better understanding, application and the assistance of ultrasound examination. The walk-in walk-out procedure can be very effective in treating varicose and spider veins of all sizes. Additionally, modern sclerotherapy medication such as Fibovein (Sodium Tetradecyl Sulphate-STS) and Polydocanol (Aetoxisclerol) are used in varying concentrations to assist in treatment with a high degree of satisfaction, effectiveness and safety.
How does Sclerotherapy work?
The sclerosing solution is injected into the vein and irritates the internal lining of the vessel causing it to swell, fuse together and gradually fade over a period of weeks. The vessel will then break down and is removed by the body’s natural healing process. Although dilated blood vessels do carry blood, they are not efficient and are often unnecessary or detrimental to the circulatory system. The body will have already created alternative venous routes so the blood is able to travel back to the heart more efficiently. This treatment often causes any underlying pain in the area to dissipate, while improving venous circulation.
What If I have both varicose and spider veins?
If you have both varicose and spider veins, the varicose veins need to be treated first. Direct injection of spider veins before treating the underlying varicose veins is not considered appropriate treatment and may lead to poor results and /or unwanted side effects.
Is the treatment painful?
As previously mentioned, Sclerotherapy involves multiple injections of sclerosing solution. Although very fine needles are used, injection of the solution may result in a temporary stinging sensation. Pain levels will vary from patient to patient; however, if you are particularly concerned please do not hesitate to discuss this with the doctor. Most patients are pleasantly surprised.
What kind of results and costs can I expect?
With most patients, either a single extended treatment session or several smaller sessions usually achieve a 70-90% improvement in the overall appearance of the legs. The doctor will estimate the costs and Medicare rebates at the time of your consultation.