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What are Varicose Veins?

What are Varicose Veins?

These are dilated, enlarged veins, most commonly appearing in the legs and feet. The cause of this condition is multifactorial especially prolonged standing. For many people, there are no symptoms and varicose veins are simply a cosmetic concern. In some cases, they cause aching pain and discomfort or Itching, pigmentation, and ulcers in late stages.

What are the symptoms of varicose veins?

Varicose veins may not cause any pain. Signs you may have varicose veins include:

  • Veins that are dark purple or blue in colour
  • Veins that appear twisted and bulging; are often like cords on your legs

When painful signs and symptoms occur, they may include:

  • An achy or heavy feeling in your legs
  • Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in your lower legs
  • Worsened pain after sitting or standing for a long time
  • Itching around one or more of your veins
  • Skin discolouration around a varicose vein


What are the treatment options of varicose veins?

Laser Surgery

- This procedure applies light energy from a laser onto a varicose vein. The laser light makes the vein fade away. Laser surgery is mostly used to treat smaller varicose veins. No cutting or injection of chemicals is involved.

Endovenous Ablation Therapy

- Endovenous ablation therapy uses lasers or radio waves to create heat to close off a varicose vein. Your doctor makes a tiny cut in your skin near the varicose vein. He or she then inserts a small tube called a catheter into the vein. A device at the tip of the tube heats up the inside of the vein and closes it off. You will be awake during this procedure, but your doctor will numb the area around the vein. You can usually go home the same day as the procedure.

Endoscopic Vein Surgery

- For endoscopic vein surgery, your doctor will make a small cut in your skin near a varicose vein. He or she then uses a tiny camera at the end of a thin tube to move through the vein. A surgical device at the end of the camera is used to close the vein. Endoscopic vein surgery is usually only used in severe cases when varicose veins are causing skin ulcers. After the procedure, you can usually return to your normal activities within a few weeks.

Ambulatory Phlebectomy

- For ambulatory phlebectomy, your doctor will make small cuts in your skin to remove small varicose veins. This procedure is usually done to remove the varicose veins closest to the surface of your skin. You will be awake during the procedure, but your doctor will numb the area around the vein. Usually, you can go home the same day that the procedure is done.

Vein Stripping and Ligation

- Vein stripping and ligation are typically only performed for severe cases of varicose veins. The procedure involves tying shut and removing the veins through small cuts in your skin. You will be given medicine to temporarily put you to sleep so you don't feel any pain during the procedure. Vein stripping and ligation are usually done as an outpatient procedure. The recovery time from the procedure is about 1 to 4 weeks.

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Frequently Asked Questions for Varicose Veins

Do varicose veins go away on their own without treatment?

No. Varicose veins do not go on their own, but sometimes their visibility reduces. Occasionally, symptoms also reduce if you lose weight or increase physical activity.

What are the complications of varicose veins?

Although complications of the varicose veins are rare but may include painful ulcers, blood clots, bleeding, etc.

What is the main cause of varicose veins?

Varicose veins occur as a result of increased blood pressure in the veins. The blood moves towards the heart through a one-way valve in the veins, and when valves weaken or are damaged, blood can collect in the veins. This leads to increased pressure, and thus varicose veins happen.

Can I massage my varicose veins?

Massaging may reduce discomfort or swelling, but it is not the proper treatment, especially if it is leading to symptoms. It is recommended to consult the doctor and take the appropriate treatment.