What are Varicose Veins?
- Varicose veins are swollen, twisted and lengthened veins, which are caused by malfunction of valves in the blood vessels. This causes the blood to backflow. The blood pools in the veins, congesting the vein. The irregular blood flow results in the enlargement and deforming of veins.
What is the traditional treatment for varicose veins?
- Patients who do not need to undergo surgical treatment can promote blood flow by wearing compression stockings.
- Traditionally, severe cases of varicose veins can be treated via surgery, which involves the ligation, and stripping of the varicose veins. During this procedure, an incision is made near the patient's groin at the top of the target vein, and another is made at the ankle or knee. Through the incision near the groin, the top of the vein is tied and sealed. Through the lower incision, a thin, flexible wire is threaded through the bottom of the vein, then pulled out, such that the vein is pulled out as well. Ligation and stripping can potentially cause bruising, bleeding, and pain. After surgery, patients will need a few weeks to recover before they are able to return to their daily routines. During recovery time, patients will have to wear compression stockings as well.
So, how do our treatments differ from traditional surgery?
Our minimally-invasive procedures only require a small pin-hole puncture in the skin to access the affected veins and treat them.
- Radio-Frequency Ablation (RFA) - RFA involves the use of a laser fiber to heat up the vein wall with radiofrequency energy, sealing the varicose vein as the laser fiber is removed. The procedure takes 35 to 40 minutes.
- Venaseal / Venablock Glue Closure - This procedure utilises a small amount of medical adhesive to permanently seal the varicose vein. The procedure takes 15 to 20 minutes.
- Cryo-Laser and Cryo-Sclerotherapy (CLaCS) - A transdermal laser is inserted into the vein, causing the vein interior to decrease in size. A chemical sclerosant is then injected into the veins, and it works by causing the veins to close off, shrink and eventually disappear. The entire procedure is done under skin cooling, and the procedure is suitable for spider veins, as patients experience minimal scarring and pigmentation.
Who will get varicose veins?
- People with a family history of varicose veins
- People who stand for long periods of time
- Pregnant women
- People who are obese
- Age is a risk factor; as you grow older, you are more susceptible to developing varicose veins
- Gender; females are statistically more likely to develop varicose veins than men
Who needs to treat varicose veins?
- Severe cases of varicose veins lead to swollen and deformed networks of red, purple and blue vessels. Patients’ legs may ache and swell. The skin can darken, and patients may have itchy and scaly skin prone to recurrent skin infections.
- Patients with these symptoms should treat their varicose veins. If left untreated, varicose veins may result in ulcers on the skin surface. The ulcers may be infected, resulting in circulatory and skin problems in the legs.
What are the benefits of doing treatment for varicose veins using this method as compared to traditional methods?
- The procedures are done either under local anesthesia or light sedation, as opposed to general anesthesia for stripping and ligation.
- Patients experience minimal pain and discomfort.
- There is no surgical scar, as the entire procedure uses just needle punctures to access the affected veins.
- Patients will be able to return to their daily activities in a much shorter recovery time.
- The procedures can be done on an outpatient basis, and the patient can return to work on the same day.
How long do the varicose vein treatments take, and what can patients expect?
- The procedures can be completed in as short as 15 to 20 minutes.
- Patients can expect a quick procedure in the operating theatre, and can rest post-operation in the recovery suites, where they are guaranteed highly personalised and professional care for quick post-procedure recovery.
What needs to be prepared before the varicose veins procedure?
- Simply consult our doctors, who will discuss with you to find out what is the best treatment option available for you. Our doctors will also diagnose the varicose veins via a thorough clinical examination, and an ultrasound scan. The ultrasound scan is crucial in determining the location and extent of varicose veins.
How much do the procedures for varicose veins cost?
- Payment will vary depending on the procedures with respect to each patient.
- Regardless, VIC is Medisave and Medishield Life accredited by MOH. We work with all major insurance companies for both Corporate and Personal Insurance Plans, as well as integrated shield plans. Depending on the type of insurance coverage and treatments, patients can have their bills covered partially or even fully via insurance and Medisave. We work to ensure that patients are able to enjoy a cashless payment process, by working with patients to apply for the necessary Letter of Guarantee (LOG) with their respective insurance companies.
What do patients need to do after the treatment for varicose veins?
- Patients may need to wear compression stockings immediately after the procedure.
How soon can patients resume normal activities after treating varicose veins?
- Patients are able to return to their daily activities in as short as a few days to a week, as opposed to a few weeks recovery for conventional treatment.
Meet our doctors!
- MBBS, FRCR, FAMS, CCST (UK)
- Dr Manish Taneja is a certified Neurointerventional Specialist and Vascular/Interventional Radiology Specialist. He is the Director of Neurointerventional and Interventional Radiology and the Consultant Neurointerventionalist at the Vascular & Interventional Centre.
Dr Benjamin Chua:
- MBBS (Singapore), MHSc (Duke), MRCSEd, FRCSEd (General Surgery), FAMS, Advanced Endovascular Surgery (Melbourne, Australia)
- Dr Benjamin Chua is the Medical Director and Senior Consultant Vascular Surgeon at the Vascular & Interventional Centre (VIC).