You are not alone over 28 million people under 40 in the UK have vein problems in their legs
Unsightly and uncomfortable
Varicose veins are veins under the skin of the legs which have become widened, bulging, and tortuous. They are very common.
They can be very unsightly and cause a variety of symptoms such as aching, throbbing, itching and heaviness. Advanced varicose veins can lead to skin damage such as eczema, staining, thickening and ulceration.
Treatment ranges from compression, foam sclerotherapy, laser ablation, to RFA and other surgical techniques.
Identify the problem
Special tests aim to show whether there are important “leaky valves” allowing blood to flow the wrong way in the veins (reflux), and so putting a head of pressure on them. These leaky valves are commonest in the groin (at the upper end of the long saphenous vein) and behind the knee (at the upper end of the short saphenous vein). Varicose veins which are under pressure from leaky valves are best dealt with by a procedure rather than by injection treatment, for a good prospect of a long term cure.
Professor Magee will use a Duplex Doppler ultrasound machine to examine blood flow in the veins: these “listen” to the blood flow through the skin.
Laser, RFA. Local or general anaesthetic
If varicose veins are causing troublesome aching or other symptoms, treatment may well be worthwhile. Surgery with endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) or Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA) can also improve the appearance by removal of the varicose veins.
The main methods of treatment are support hosiery and operation involving endovenous laser or RF ablation. Foam injection sclerotherapy under ultrasound guidance is useful but the cosmetic results are poorer. Professor Magee can advise whether your veins are suitable for this treatment.
It is always important to consider the pros and cons carefully before deciding on treatment. It may be helpful to talk with your general practitioner, with your family, and perhaps with friends who have had varicose veins treated, as well as getting advice from a specialist.
Being overweight makes varicose vein problems worse and if you are overweight you would be well-advised to diet, or to seek advice from your doctor about how to lose weight. This also applies if you are considering any kind of treatment for your varicose veins.