What are the Treatment Options for Unsightly Varicose Veins
Understanding Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are swollen and enlarged veins, which are common amongst women worldwide. They often announce themselves as bulging cords in the legs, which can be an unsightly presence especially for ladies who like wearing shorts or skirts. In addition, varicose veins can also develop or become worse during pregnancy.
The cosmetic aspects aside, varicose veins can also cause leg swelling around the ankle region and this is especially worse after prolonged periods of standing. Patients also feel an uncomfortable aching pain sensation.
In more extreme cases, the skin around the ankle and inner calf region can become darkened or pigmented, itchy and scaly (venous eczema) and develop recurrent skin infections (cellulitis). If left untreated, the skin can break down and non-healing venous ulcers can develop. Sometimes, the engorged varicosities can rupture, resulting in profuse bleeding.
Treatment Options For Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are diagnosed with clinical examination and ultrasound scans. The ultrasound scan is essential, as it will determine the degree and extent of venous reflux present. The scans also help determine if the deep veins have reflux disease or deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
So, just what are the options for treating these varicose veins?
1) Non-Surgical Treatment
Non-surgical treatment of varicose veins involves the use of compression stockings, which function to force blood flow into the veins to prevent the pooling of blood in the legs. However, because compression stockings require continuous use, they can be uncomfortable for patients living in tropical climes.
2) Surgical Treatment
Traditional open surgery involves making a skin incision at the groin or back of knee and exposing the great saphenous vein (GSV) and small saphenous vein (SSV) junction before tying off its drainage branches into the deep veins.
The vein is then removed by stripping from the thigh down to the knee level. This method requires general anaesthesia and requires a night’s stay in hospital. Open surgery is often associated with greater pain and a slower process.
3) Minimally Invasive Procedures
The Vascular & Interventional Centre offers a number of minimally invasive procedures for treating varicose veins.
• Radio-Frequency Ablation (RFA)
• Clarivein Endovenous Treatment
These methods require a small puncture under ultrasound scan and insertion of probes inside the vein to shrink and close off the vein using either heat (RFA) or mechanical/ chemical means (Clarivein). Due to its minimally invasive nature, these endovenous techniques can be done under local anaesthesia and light sedation, usually as a day surgery case with same day discharge. Post-procedure recovery is also much faster with patients returning to their normal daily activities within 1-2 days.
• VenaSeal Closure System
The Vascular & Interventional Centre has also recently introduced the VenaSeal Closure System. Approved by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), VenaSeal is a proprietary medical adhesive delivered endovenously to close the vein. This unique approach eliminates the risk of nerve injury when treating the small saphenous vein (SSV).
The Vascular and Interventional Centre is a leading Singapore-based private clinic dedicated exclusively to the care of disorders relating to the circulatory system, primarily the arteries and veins.