Usually found on the legs, varicose veins are swollen and enlarged veins which are usually a blue or dark purple. They may also be lumpy, bulging or twisted in appearance.
Varicose veins develop when the small valves inside the veins stop working properly. In a healthy vein, blood flows smoothly to the heart, and is prevented from flowing backwards by a series of tiny valves, which open and close to let blood through. If these valves weaken or are damaged, the blood can flow backwards and can collect in the vein, eventually causing it to be varicose.
It is a common condition that runs in families and may affect up to 60% of the adult population.
Varicose veins are as common in men as women. Risk factors include genetic, age (as you get older your veins start to lose their elasticity), being overweight, standing for long periods of time. Hormonal medications and pregnancy exacerbate the condition.
Endovenous Laser Therapy for Varicose Veins (EVLT) is a new minimally invasive alternative to surgical high tie and stripping for the treatment of varicose veins.
Sclerotherapy is a treatment that can be used on smaller varicose veins and involves the injection of a substance into the unwanted veins to cause them to close down.
The technique, using a liquid, can also be used on reticular veins, superficial visible veins and thread veins (fine veins that can be seen through the skin, also sometimes known as spider veins).
The injections are virtually painless, but the number of sessions you require may vary depending on the size or number of areas which need treatment.
Sclerotherapy is a procedure designed to decrease the visibility and appearance of unsightly spider veins commonly found on legs and occasionally on other areas of the body.