Many of us get through winter with our woolly tights, trousers and jeans not even really taking notice of the status of our legs. But all it takes is one big event – a wedding, a party or even a work night out and all of a sudden they become all we can focus on.
Those veins that you have been hiding away since last summer unfortunately haven’t magically disappeared over the winter period but instead they are still there with no signs of fading any time soon.
Now is the perfect time of the year to consider leg vein treatment in order for your legs to be ready for the big reveal once the sun starts to make a regular appearance.
What vein do I have and what treatment do I need?
Thread Veins (Telangiectasia)
Thread veins are also known as spider veins due to their web-like appearance.
Nearly all of us will develop thread veins as we age and you may be surprised to know that one in five women in their 20s will have thread veins. Thread veins can occur anywhere on the body but are most common on the leg and face. Thread veins are actually tiny blood vessels that run close to the surface of the skin. They are most often red in colour but sometimes show up as purple and have a ‘wiggly line’-like appearance.
There is no apparent cause for thread veins; they just develop as we age. Some factors that can cause them to appear include pregnancy, hormonal changes, sunbathing, exposure to extreme temperatures, cortico-steroid medication and radiotherapy exposure.
Smaller thread veins are generally much easier to treat so early treatment and prevention is key before they start to get more difficult later on in life.
Here at The Private Clinic there are several treatments available for thread veins depending where they are located on the body.
- CoolGlide is a vascular laser system designed to treat thread veins. The laser delivers pulses of light energy which causes the blood inside the vein to thicken and destroy the vessel which is then absorbed naturally by your body. The blood flow is then redirected into deeper lying veins so the problem should not re-occur once treated
- Sclerotherapy involves injecting the visible capillaries with a sclerosing agent which causes the vein walls to become sticky. Once the vein walls are sticky the blood is unable to pass through meaning the vessel will then collapse and be absorbed naturally by your body.
Varicose veins are enlarged and swollen veins that are often raised above the skin. They can be red, blue or skin coloured. They may also appear lumpy or twisted in appearance. They are most commonly seen on the legs and ankles but can also appear anywhere on your body.
Varicose veins are caused when the small valves within the veins become weak or damaged and stop working. When damaged, blood is able to flow backwards and collect in the vein causing the vein to become swollen.
The reasons why the valves become damaged and cause varicose veins is still unknown and many people get varicose veins for no obvious reason. Factors that can increase your likelihood of developing varicose veins include pregnancy, weight gain and old age.
In some cases varicose veins are actually an indication that something else might be wrong which is why during our consultations we make sure we do a full check-up to establish there are no underlying conditions before we start treatment.
Here at The Private Clinic there are 3 treatments available for varicose veins, your vascular surgeon will explain your options to you and help you decide which treatment is best for you.
- EVLA (Endovenous Laser Ablation) is performed under a local anaesthetic. The treatment involves laser energy being delivered through a probe which is inserted through a small incision near the knee. The short pulses of energy seal the damaged valve resulting in blood not being able to flow through it anymore which eventually means the vein walls will collapse.
- Sclerotherapy is generally only used for smaller veins but for larger veins like varicose veins a foam version is used. The foam sclerotherapy process is fairly similar to the liquid sclerotherapy technique however the sclerosing agent is instead mixed with gas to create foam. Once a local anaesthetic has been applied the foam is then injected into the vein but the needle is carefully monitored using ultrasound imaging to ensure it is in the right place. The air within the foam is quickly absorbed by the veins naturally but it leaves the sclerosing agent to be able to treat the veins.
- A phlebectomy is performed under local anaesthetic and it involves making a small incision next to the vein to allow a small hook entry which then grasps the vein and removes it. The incisions are very small so no stiches are required, and you have generally a very quick recovery time.
If you are unsure which treatment or even what veins you have, then we suggest coming in for a surgeon-led consultation which includes a free ultrasound scan worth over £350 to ensure that your varicose veins are examined with the utmost accuracy and your treatment is tailored to you.
The Private Clinic
Our Consultant Vascular Surgeons have helped thousands of people regain their confidence whilst avoiding the health issues associated with varicose veins and, owing to their success, our vein treatments have been featured on both Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies and TLC’s My Naked Secret.