Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are enlarged and tortuous veins usually as a result of pooling of blood and increased venous pressure in those veins. The term usually refers to this condition in the legs, but can occur in many veins or venous beds throughout the body.

Chronic venous disorders are very common and affect up to 1 in 2 adults greater than 50 years. Age, family history, pregnancies and jobs requiring prolonged standing are all risk factors for varicose veins.

Varicose veins most commonly occur due to a valve problem in the veins in the inside of the leg called the long saphenous vein (70%). As the blood refluxes (travels the wrong way), pools and increases in pressure (venous hypertension), more valves become incompetent and the veins under the skin become enlarged to give the well known appearance of varicose veins. Over time the skin may undergo changes of darkening, losing the hair and even ulceration. There are other causes to varicose veins and include perforator incompetence, ovarian vein incompetence, deep venous incompetence, venous thrombosis (incl. DVT) and vascular or venous malformations. Methods to diagnose and treat will vary depending on the cause of an individual’s varicose veins.

Classically, varicose veins result in either unsightly veins or a deep dull ache in the legs, usually worse at the end of the day or after prolonged standing. Ulceration (skin breakdown) occurs in about 1% of varicose vein sufferers.

Treatments do vary for the severity and type of varicose veins and range from stockings, minimally invasive laser (EVLT) and sclerotherapy treatments and less commonly to stripping of the vein.

Associate Professor Stuart Lyon has been assessing and treating these conditions for 14 years and is highly experienced in all endovenous treatments.

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