Varicose veins are enlarged distorted, twisted and bulging veins that are swollen and raised above the surface of the skin. There are usually blue or flesh colour and can appear like ropes under the skin. Our gallery contains images of the different types of varicose veins.
They are always more prominent in the hot weather and after long periods of standing or exercise, but tend to reduce in size with leg rest and elevation.
In most cases, they represent the distended tributaries or “branches” coming of larger malfunctioning veins (“feeder veins”). They are most common in the calves, but can be seen anywhere in the lower leg, depending on what “feeder vein” is malfunctioning.
They are always a sign of Venous Reflux/Insufficiency.
The best varicose vein treatment is not to simply remove them surgically (as some clinics do), but to eliminate the underlying source of reflux first.
Surgical stripping of veins often combined with “stab avulsion”, was the mainstay of treatment for the last century. This technique required a general anaesthetic and was associated with a long recovery time and frequent recurrence (up to 50% at 5yrs).
In the 1960’s a Swiss dermatologist (Muller) developed a gentler approach called ambulatory phlebectomy to remove the veins under local anaesthetic. Initial results were good, but with time, new veins usually appeared to take the place of those removed. The reason being that although the visible abnormal veins were removed, the underlying source of reflux (the cause of varicose veins) was not identified and treated.
Treating varicose veins today, without a detailed ultrasound map of the malfunctioning veins, is akin to sailing across the Atlantic using the stars alone for navigation. I doubt anyone of sound mind would want to make such a trip today without all the modern navigation equipment available.
More information about the latest endovenous methods for treatment of varicose veins offered at the vein clinic can be obtained by clicking on the links below.
Endovenous Laser Ablation – Developed in 1999 and now established as the “Gold Standard”
Foam Sclerotherapy – A cheaper non-surgical alternative to laser (suitable for some patients)
Clarivein ™ – A novel non thermal closure device, commenced use in Australia in 2011
Venaseal (Glue) ™ – The newest method of sealing the vein with Glue, 1st used in Australia in Nov 2014