Frequently Asked Questions

Varicose Veins

Veins are the blood vessels that return blood to the heart from the body. To overcome the force of gravity, inside the veins are one-way valves which open to allow blood flow to the heart, and close to prevent "reflux" of blood to the body. When these valves fail to function or if the vein is damaged so the valves do not completely close, blood can begin to pool in the vein and cause a variety of vein complications.

Spider veins are small, thread-like coloured veins that are most often seen on the surface of the skin. Whilst most people seek treatment for spider veins for cosmetic reasons, spider veins also can result in mild discomfort.

Varicose veins are the large "rope-like" veins which are often 0.5cm or larger in diameter. Varicose veins generally grow in size over time and can result in substantial pain and complications if not treated.

Fortunately, the condition of most veins can be seen by looking at the size and colour of the vein at the skin surface. In some cases, however, the affected vein may be deeper in the body and not visible from the surface of the skin. As a result, paying close attention to other symptoms is important in diagnosing vein disease.

Many patients with vein disease experience cramping, aching, burning, itching, soreness or "tired" or "restless" legs, especially in the calf muscles. If you experience these symptoms, our Clinic or your Doctor can quickly and easily perform a test to determine if you have vein disorders.

Whilst there is a higher incidence of vein disorders in women than men, vein ailments are widespread amongst the whole population; varicose veins affect between 15-25% of all adults, and approximately 50% of all people over age 50 experience some form of vein ailment.

The single most important cause of vein disorders is genetic. Approximately 70% of all sufferers with varicose veins have parents or other family members with the same condition. Other factors that can contribute to vein disorders are pregnancy, especially multiple pregnancies, old age, obesity and jobs that require long periods of standing or sitting.

Varicose veins generally worsen over time. Often this is a gradual process but, if left untreated, they can lead to restrictions with mobility and severe aching of the legs in the evening and during the night. Eventually, varicose veins can lead to eczema, blood clot formation and in extreme cases skin ulceration.

Treatment for Venous Problems

Because there are many veins in the leg, the blood that would have flowed through the closed vein simply flows through other healthy veins after the procedure. The loss of the diseased vein is not a problem for the circulatory system.

Fortunately, sclerotherapy and endovenous laser therapy and radio-frequency ablation therapy have rarely been associated with any serious complications when properly performed. Common minor complications of these procedures include bruising, mild itching, tingling, tenderness and tightness in the treated leg for up to two weeks after the treatment.