Varicose veins are large, bulging, “rope like” blood vessels that are commonly a quarter inch and sometimes larger in total diameter. They are best treated with modern forms of professional laser vein therapy from specialist clinics.
How do varicose veins occur?
Most commonly, blood vessels are considered varicose when they are no longer properly taking blood from the legs up into the heart. Each blood vessel has special valves that close to push blood towards to hear and prevent any backflow caused by gravity, also known as “reflux”.
When these valves are damaged and no longer function properly, gravity forces blood to leak through and head downwards, in the wrong direction. The blood proceeds to distend and overfill the blood vessels in the legs, becoming swollen and noticeable.
The blood vessels that become varicose are known as “superficial blood vessels”, which means they can be safely removed from the body without any negative effects. Laser vein therapy is an effective choice for removing the problem blood vessels safely.
How common is this condition?
From studies, at least one half of the population has some kind of venous disease with varicose blood vessels affecting around 50% of those over 50 years of age. It is less prevalent in younger adults, ranging from 15% to 25%.
How does laser vein therapy work?
Before the development of laser vein therapy, the most effective means of treating the condition was a surgical procedure known as stripping. This was a highly invasive surgical procedure that would leave incision marks and is considered outdated next to modern treatments.
The procedure uses an endovenous laser that is inserted into the blood vessel, often guided by an ultrasound machine, to deliver highly accurate heat. The heat then forced the blood vessel to contract, stopping blood from flowing back through it.
Endovenous laser vein therapy does not require and surgery and the whole procedure can be completed in under an hour. The leg they are operating on is anesthetised so that the laser fibre can be threaded through a small incision.
Why is the fibre inserted through the upper thigh for blood vessels below the knee?
During laser vein therapy the specialist may treat blood vessels below the knee by inserting the fibre in the thigh. This is because blood vessels lower down in the leg are likely pooling blog because of a fault that is higher up in a vein that can’t be seen.
By treating the source of the problem in the thigh, the blood vessels in the lower leg begin to be less swollen and visible.
Is laser vein therapy painful?
While individual people have varying responses, on the whole most people consider the treatment to have little to no pain at all. Many people report that the only sensation they feel is when the anaesthetic is applied.
There may be some tingling, itchiness, tightness or tenderness in the treated area following the procedure, but this is normal. These symptoms should not persist for more than a month following the procedure.
How successful is it?
Very, clinical trial results have reported a very high success rate for the procedure with many long-term benefits for varicose sufferers. There are however some risks for certain people that a doctor will be able to disclaim to them prior to the procedure.
What should you do after the procedure?
A gauze pad will be placed over the incision area and compression stocking will be placed over the leg. The specialist will encourage you to begin walking around straight away to stimulate the blood flow and see if you are able to drive yourself home if required.
While downtime is minimal, most specialists will suggest not to carry out any strenuous exercise activities for at least 2 week after the procedure.