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Leg Surface And Spider Veins

Many people are troubled by unsightly and/or painful veins in their legs. When leg veins become dilated such that they become visible on the surface of the skin they are termed surface veins. These surface veins can range from small thin veins (spider veins) to thick veins (varicose veins).

TREATMENT OPTIONS

The most appropriate method of treatment requires evaluation by a properly qualified medical practitioner. The latest ultrasound based Doppler and colour flow Duplex ultrasounds are used to help in assessing the exact nature any venous problem and identifying the best treatment plan for each individual patient. Three main non-surgical methods of treating leg veins are sclerotherapy, ultrasound guided sclerotherapy and laser.

WHAT IS SCLEROTHERAPY?

This is a treatment that involves the use of very fine needles to treat surface veins with a solution that scleroses (i.e. seals off) unwanted veins. The body then naturally breaks these veins down in the same way it removes bruises. Blood circulation is restored through normal veins.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF SCLEROTHERAPY?

For many surface vein problems sclerotherapy may be the only effective method. Importantly, sclerotherapy is a walk in, walk out procedure that does not require hospitalisation, no anaesthetic, no cutting of the skin an with patients being able to resume normal activity and work immediately afterwards.

IS IT PAINFUL?

No. Sclerotherapy is not painful because the needle used is very, very fine. All needles are single use and disposable.

ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS?

World wide clinical trials have found sclerotherapy to be a remarkably safe method of leg vein treatment. Surface bruising may occur which usually disappears quickly. Tender cords can occasionally develop after treatment of larger veins but these disappear over several weeks as the body breaks down these 'sealed' veins. Uncommonly after treatment the vein may develop a brownish colour (hyper pigmentation).
This is similar to how an area of skin can go a brown colour after bruising. It mainly occurs with very large or thick patches of veins and individuals with darker skin, and usually resolves over several weeks although rarely it may be long lasting. Deep vein thrombosis is a very rare complication as are allergic reactions. Another possible rare complication is the development of a small skin ulcer. If this occurs it is mainly in the elderly, but is rare and typically heals very quickly. Whilst side effects are very rare, unknown or unpredictable problems can occur with any form of medical treatment.

How many treatments are necessary?

This will depend on the number of veins that are treated and the level of improvement sought. Minor surface veins respond very quickly and may only require one or two treatments. Larger areas may require several treatments.

What are the costs likely to be?

This will be discussed at the initial consultation. Medicare does provide a rebate for the treatment of large varicose veins, however small veins are regarded by Medicare as cosmetic and as such their treatment receives no rebate.