3 Common Varicose Vein Myths Busted

varicose veinsThere are a lot of myths out there surrounding varicose veins and some can be problematic if they are to be believed. Therefore, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the truth behind these misconceptions. Here you’ll discover 3 common varicose vein myths and the truth behind them.

1. Varicose veins aren’t harmful

While thankfully a lot of the time varicose veins aren’t harmful to your health, in some cases they can be. They can cause aching, throbbing and itching sensations and in some cases even serious swelling. Over time they may also lead to skin changes and leg ulcers . They can be really painful (thrombophlebitis) which means removal is essential in many cases.

2. Varicose veins are the same as spider veins

While the two may look similar, spider veins are basically just veins that have dilated. They are found in the surface of the skin and are largely a cosmetic issue. Varicose veins on the other hand are located in the fat between the skin and the muscle. It’s important to note that the pressure caused by the varicose veins can lead to the development of spider veins too.

3. Varicose veins can always be easily seen

As varicose veins are associated with a bulging, unsightly appearance, it’s logical to think they’re always visible. However, they’re not always bulging. They can be located deeper under the skin so they aren’t necessarily visible to the naked eye. You’ll know if you’re suffering from deeper varicose veins because they present the same symptoms of swelling, achy tired legs and itchiness.

There are so many myths regarding varicose veins so it’s essential to see a doctor if you suspect you have them. The good news is there are many treatment options available, some which don’t require surgery. Treatments have come a long way over the years so don’t be put off seeking help.

You can contact us today to book a consultation and find out more about the treatment options available.

What Are the Risks of Endothermal Ablation Surgery?

calfEndothermal ablation surgery is one of the most commonly performed procedures in the treatment of varicose veins. However, like any surgery it can present some risks. Before deciding whether or not to go ahead with the procedure, it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting into.

Common general side effects

The most common side effects of endothermal ablation surgery include:

  • Pain/discomfort
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Numbness or tightness

Pain and discomfort is something you’d expect to feel from any surgery. However, severe pain is rare. You’ll typically be given pain medication to control the discomfort following the procedure, but if you’re experiencing severe pain you will need to contact the surgeon.

Swelling and bruising are also to be expected, though this should be minimal due to the minimally invasive approach of the surgery. If you experience numbness or tightness you should notice this disappears after a few weeks. It’s also common for pins and needles to develop as you regain sensation to the leg.

Specific risks to be aware of

Any surgery carried out on the legs produces a risk of deep vein thrombosis. However, the risk of this developing after endothermal ablation surgery is just 0.3% compared to a staggering 5% with the older vein stripping procedure.

Wearing compression stockings can also reduce the chances of developing deep vein thrombosis after the surgery.
Endothermal ablation fails to close the vein in about 3% of people, and in these cases the treatment may need to be repeated.

A very small percentage of patients have also reported skin burns. This is down to the strength of the laser, but it’s an extremely rare side effect that you’re unlikely to experience. Sometimes you can get some skin discolouration and thickening along the line of the treated vein if it is close to the skin, and this can take a few months to fade.

Overall you’ll be informed about the risks and side effects of endothermal ablation during your initial consultation at the Cornwall Vein Clinic. The consultation also offers you the opportunity to ask any questions and for us to determine whether you’re a good candidate for the procedure.

Call us today to book your consultation and find out whether endothermal ablation is the right treatment choice for you.

Varicose Veins Treatment Market Set to Grow by 6.9% by 2021

sprout-1136131_960_720Varicose veins not only look unpleasant, but they can also be extremely painful. However, the good news is that thanks to innovative techniques and advances in technology, they have never been easier to treat. Minimally invasive procedures have increased the popularity of varicose vein surgery, with new research showing an expected further growth of 6.9% by 2021.

Growth driven by innovative procedures

These days there are plenty of treatments available to remove varicose veins. By far the most popular and minimally invasive is endothermal ablation. Performed via ultrasound guidance, laser or radiofrequency is used to destroy the trunk.

After this type of treatment, few patients go on to require further procedures. Endothermal ablation can be performed on most varicose veins.

Another popular treatment is Venaseal. This FDA approved procedure involves sealing the veins with an adhesive. It’s a permanent treatment that provides long-lasting results. Taking very little time to perform and offering fantastic results, it’s no wonder varicose vein surgery has become so popular today.

Market currently worth $207.9 million

The research conducted focused on varicose vein treatments in North America and Europe. It showed that as of 2016, the market is worth $207.9 million. By 2021 this is expected to rise to $289.7 million. That’s a substantial growth and highlights just how popular varicose vein treatments are today.

Varicose veins are a growing problem and there are many causes of the condition. They can be caused by weakened valves and your risk of developing them is increased by a large number of factors including genetics, obesity, pregnancy and age. While women are more likely to develop them, many men also suffer with the condition.

Overall the recent research does show how far varicose vein treatments have come over the years. As the trend reaches out to more minimally invasive procedures, it’s likely that is where development of the industry will be focused upon in coming years.

Call the Cornwall Vein Clinic today to arrange a consultation and find out more about these innovative minimally invasive procedures.

Older patients may miss out on varicose vein treatments on NHS

These are turbulent times for the NHS and to add to junior doctor strikes and contract concerns, is a health rationing row between NHS chiefs and the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS).

Six Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across the Birmingham region are looking at plans to cut funding for a whole range of operations, from cataract surgery to varicose vein treatments.

The CCGs, which provide treatment for over two million patients in the Birmingham area, published a document in April entitled the ‘Policy for Procedures of Lower Clinical Value’. A host of procedures were listed that would now require GPs to give evidence of ‘exceptional clinical need’ before their use would be sanctioned. As well as varicose veins, other treatments to be hit include cosmetic surgery, treatment for back pain and groin hernia repairs.

The Royal College of Surgeons were asked to give their feedback on the report and hit back, saying that “some policies are presented as if they are supported by clinically-evidenced guidance but in fact contravene this guidance” and that this could prevent patients receiving the treatment they need.

The plan is to impose thresholds on particular procedures; for example, a weight restriction on those undergoing hip or knee surgery or only treating more advanced cases of varicose veins. As the RCS points out in their letter, though, lack of early intervention in varicose veins can result in an increased deterioration that will later require a surgical intervention.

However, these are not the first CCGs that have rationed varicose vein procedures and patients are increasingly have to opt for private treatment. At Cornwall Vein Clinic, we offer the full range of varicose vein treatments that NHS patients were previously able to access. Depending on the extent of the problem, there are a number of minimally invasive, but highly effective treatments. These include endothermal ablation, sclerotherapy and exciting new technological innovations such as ClariVein™ and cyanoacrylate glue occlusion. Surgery should be a last resort.

If you have further questions or to find out more about your treatment options, please call 01872 226 100 to arrange a consultation at the Cornwall Vein Clinic.

Men drive up demand for varicose vein treatments

Varicose veins may seem the bane of middle-aged women, but experts now believe that they are just as likely to affect men as women – the difference is that, in the past, women were more likely to seek treatment. However, that’s all set to change as men are becoming increasingly motivated to seek a solution to varicose veins.

Whether it’s because we live in a more visual world or that more of us than ever are playing sport and exercising regularly and men do not want to reveal the unsightly blue bulges marring their legs; SportEngland’s latest data noted that over 15 million adults now play sport at least once a week, an increase of almost 2 million on 2005/6. There’s even now been a term coined to describe varicose veins in men – ‘grandpa legs’.

Are varicose veins merely an aesthetic concern?

Most people do not suffer problems associated with these swollen, visible veins lying just under the skin, but symptoms include:

  • A feeling of aching or heaviness in the legs
  • The skin may itch or there is a burning sensation
  • You may experience ‘restless legs’ and even cramping in the legs particularly at night
  • The legs and ankles may swell up, particularly common at the end of the day

Although these symptoms might not necessarily affect your ability to perform normal activities or impact on your quality of life, varicose veins can be very unsightly, with lumps, swelling or noticeably blue or purple twisting veins pushing against the skin. The skin can also change colour and texture and, in some cases, result in ulcers.

What treatments are available for varicose veins?

When treatments were mainly restricted to surgery or wearing compression garments, it’s not surprising that many men choose to just put up with the problem. However, technological advances in recent years has meant that there are now minimally invasive, highly effective procedures available.

In addition to NICE-recommended endothermal ablation procedures, Cornwall Vein Clinic also offers two other innovative and exciting keyhole treatments for varicose veins that are performed as keyhole procedures; ClariVein™ and cyanoacrylate glue occlusion. They require no anaesthetic, are quick to perform and mean significantly less downtime, so are increasingly popular with male patients wanting a solution to varicose veins. For more information on the treatments we offer, call 01872 226 100.

Endothermal ablation: the varicose vein treatment you should be offered

The NHS is facing its worse financial crisis in a generation according to regulators. Estimates published towards the end of 2015 suggest that the NHS is heading towards an annual deficit of at least £2 billion . This is attributed to increased care requirements for an ageing population, restricted budgets and unexpected staffing costs. Whilst these are undeniable factors driving the current healthcare landscape there is still plenty to do to modernise the service at grass roots levels to improve the patient experience and eliminate unnecessary costs.

For some time, the casual prescription by GPs of antibiotics for viruses to mollify parents and screaming children has been a known issue. This placebo actually costs the NHS around £10m a year, despite it having no effect whatsoever on viruses. Worse that that it contributes to antibiotic resistance, threatening to make common infections untreatable.

A less well-covered topic in the media is the expenditure on varicose vein treatment. This is a common health complaint which affects up to 30 per cent of UK adults. For many people there are no symptoms but the condition can result in heaviness, aching and cramps. Over time this can develop into more serious problems such as leg ulcers which have a significant effect on the patient’s quality of life.

Traditionally, this condition has been treated with surgery and carried out under general anaesthetic. Whilst most patients can return home on the same day the procedure is invasive and can result in pain, bruising and bleeding. Recovery can take up to three weeks before returning to work and there is a small risk of nerve damage and or deep vein thrombosis.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), best known for ruling which new drugs doctors can prescribe on the NHS recommends that endothermal ablation should be offered as an initial treatment for varicose veins. Carried out under a local anaesthetic the procedure relies on high frequency radio waves or lasers to seal the affected blood vessels.

According to NICE, prescribing endothermal ablation as the preferred treatment would deliver a more successful and less invasive treatment for patients as well as making an annual saving of £4.5 million across the UK.

For more information on which treatment for varicose veins is most appropriate for your needs, please call 01872 226 100 to book a consultation at the Cornwall Vein Clinic.

Help! I have varicose veins. What are my treatment options?

Varicose veins affect about a third of the UK population, mainly women. The condition results from enlarged veins in the legs, forcing the blood to flow in reverse. In some patients the symptoms are hardly noticeable but in others the level of discomfort can be severe with itchiness, cramps, continual throbbing and heaviness in the legs. Eventually the condition can deteriorate to ulcers, resulting in a significant effect on the quality of life. Most people end up wearing compression stockings at some point during treatment.

What are my treatment options for varicose veins?

The specialists at Cornwall Vein Clinic stay abreast of the latest techniques and technologies and Mr Ken Woodburn will be demonstrating his techniques for the treatment of varicose veins at the Venous Workshop held during the 38th Charing Cross Symposium, the longest running and largest symposium in Europe, dedicated to exploring vascular and endovascular challenges.

Traditionally, the preferred option was surgery although this is increasingly becoming a last resort as other, less invasive and modern techniques have been developed to deal with the condition. Surgery requires a general anaesthetic and typically results in up to three weeks away from work along with pain and bruising.

  1. Endothermal ablation should be offered as a first course of action. Unlike surgery, this can be carried out under a local anaesthetic and typically has mild side effects such as bruising and transient pins and needles. A small incision will be made just above or below the knee to insert a catheter to heat up the vein to seal it shut but patients can expect to return to work within 24 hours.
  2. Endovenous laser treatment may also be advised as an initial treatment option. The procedure is similar but may result in more tightness and bruising, with the possibility of short-term nerve damage. Both techniques may still require you to wear compression stockings.
  3. Ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy may be advised when endothermal ablation treatment is unsuitable. This procedure requires an injection of a foam compound into the affected veins to seal them shut. Whilst this is can be carried out under a local anaesthetic and you should expect to be back to work in less than 24 hours (with 84 out of 100 cases being successful) sclerotherapy can cause headaches, back pain, temporary vision problems and possibly blood clots in other veins.

However, as NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, details in their guidelines on the preferred order of varicose vein treatments, the individual needs and preferences of the patient should always be taken into account. For a comprehensive assessment of your individual requirements, please call 01872 226 100 to book a consultation at the Cornwall Vein Clinic.

Does sitting down or standing for long periods of time cause varicose veins?

We are very aware that embarking on a course of private medical treatment can be an anxious time for some people, particularly if you are funding your own treatment. It can be difficult to work out in advance, how expensive the treatment will be, particularly as many vein clinics will only give you an estimate of cost once you have been seen by one of their consultants. Often a combination of different treatments are required, with each one incurring a separate charge, and costs can soon mount up.

At the Cornwall Vein Clinic our pricing is transparent and clearly displayed on our website. You are unlikely to be faced with unexpected additional costs, as we aim to treat all the veins that you are concerned about in a single visit, and even if this requires more than one treatment technique on the day it will not result in additional charges. We know that in a review of 1300 patients treated by our surgeons, almost 90 per cent of patients had their veins treated in a single endothermal treatment, and overall only 25 per cent required further minor ‘tidy up’ injections carried out in the out-patient clinic.

You can therefore be confident that the prices displayed on our website are the prices that you will pay, and your surgeon will endeavor to complete your treatment in a single visit whenever possible.

If you’re interested in having your vein condition can be assessed and an appropriate treatment advised, get in touch to book a consultation.

Two new treatments launched at Cornwall Vein Clinic

Cornwall Vein Clinic is introducing two new keyhole treatments for varicose veins, that avoid the need for multiple local anaesthetic injections during the treatment, and are potentially quicker to carry out. Both techniques are similar to existing techniques as they involve placing a catheter in the vein through a small incision in the calf or lower thigh, made under local anaesthetic.

ClariVein™ for varicose veins

In one technique, endovenous mechanochemical ablation (Clarivein™) a tube with a rotating hollow wire at its tip is inserted through the skin into the affected vein in the leg using ultrasound guidance. As the tube is pulled back out of the vein, the wire is rotated, damaging the lining of the vein. At the same time a chemical is injected through the hollow wire into the vein. The vein becomes inflamed, and then shrivels and closes.

Varicose veins treated with glue occlusion

The aim of the other technique called cyanoacrylate glue occlusion is to close a varicose vein by sticking its walls together. The cyanoacrylate glue is put into the affected vein via a special tube inserted into the vein at the knee and passed to the top of the great saphenous vein, using ultrasound to guide it. This treatment doesn’t require bandages to be worn afterwards and skin staining is very rare.

Both these techniques can only treat one leg per treatment visit and have the same potential complications as the established keyhole treatments, but there is not yet enough information available about these techniques to say if these complications are any more likely, or if the success rate of these treatments is any lower. We are excited to be bringing these techniques to Cornwall, as the will be particularly suited to individuals who don’t cope very well with injections.

For more information on all the treatments we offer for removal of varicose veins, get in touch to book a consultation.