Spider veins or telangiectasia on the legs often cause considerable distress because of their unsightly appearance. Sometimes they are associated with underlying varicose veins so it is important that you are properly assessed before proceeding with treatment. This may involve having a venous colour duplex ultrasound performed on your legs to assess the underlying saphenous veins.

In women the most common places for spider veins to appear are on the outside of the thighs and inside the knees.

Treatment almost always involves sclerotherapy. Vascular laser is most unlikely to clear spider veins if they are significant.

The most common agents used for sclerotherapy are the two detergent sclerosants

  • Polidocanol (“Aethoxysklerol”)

  • Sodium tetradecyl sulfate (“Fibrovein”)

Hypertonic saline historically had a role in treating spider veins but it is rarely used today because it is relatively inefficient, has a tendency to cause ulceration and worldwide has been superceded by the detergent sclerosants.

Lateral thigh

Before and after

AuthorNicholas Kemp

There was a recent TV feature on Channel 9 Television about laser treatment of varicose veins being painless. Is this true? Pain is certainly minimal in comparison to surgery but people do experience some pain so saying its painless is not entirely true.  The measure of pain is subjective as each individual has different tolerance thresholds for pain.  

Prior to the Laser being turned on and withdrawn through the vein, Tumescent Anaesthetic needs to be injected along the entire length of the vein with a series of needles so that the vein becomes enveloped in an anaesthetic blanket.  These injections are relatively painless but they are not painLESS.

Once the anaesthetic is inserted you can be confident that the laser treatment is completely painLESS no matter what type of laser or frequency of laser is being used.  

Following treatment the anaesthetic takes several hours to wear off and this is when some discomfort might develop.  Any dull ache that might develop which normally would only last a few days can normally be managed with ibuprofen or paracetamol. 

With the use of the newer types of Lasers there is often minimal or next to no pain over the recovery period.  There has been a trend towards the use of lower frequency Lasers (1470nm) which specifically target water in the vein wall rather than the blood inside the vein. The lower power settings required for these new types of Lasers accounts for the significant reduction in post procedural pain. 

AuthorNicholas Kemp

Is there any truth to the common questions 'does crossing my legs cause varicose veins' and 'will I get varicose veins by wearing high heels every day?'  or are they just old wives tales?

The act of crossing your legs does not cause varicose veins, however, if you have a predisposition to other factors such as genetics, or hormonal fluctuations in women (eg during pregnancy or menopause), your risk could only minimally increase. When crossing your legs, the venous blood pressure in the legs increases, crossing your legs interferes with the flow path and direction of blood from the lower legs back to the heart. The resulting elevated venous pressure can put strain on the valves inside the leg veins,  but even if you have a strong familial tendency, if you stay healthy and active, the muscles in your legs are pumping and that means you’re draining the leg. This one is a MYTH!

Wearing high heels makes your legs look great, but will they have the opposite effect in the long run?  A US study compared the venous blood pressure in the legs of women walking on a treadmill with and without high-heeled shoes.  Normal walking coordinates the foot and calf pump. When the foot is off the floor, the foot veins fill with blood. As the heel and arch of the foot contact the floor, the blood flows into the relaxed calf veins. The calf muscles then contract which propels blood up the deep veins.

High heels change the natural walking motion, shifting the weight to the fore foot and toes and causes the calf muscles to remain contracted. This results in a decrease in the filling of the foot and calf veins and a less forceful calf muscle pump. This lose of efficiency causes pooling of venous blood in the leg. The answer to this question is FACT!

The news isn't all bad! You don't have to stop crossing your legs or wearing heels, but you should be aware of what you are doing. If you constantly cross your legs or wear heels, make an effort to stretch your calf muscles throughout the day to ensure good blood flow in the legs, and mix up your footwear, give your legs (and feet) a break from the heels! And remember to keep active and walk at least 30 min a day to ensure your calves are pumping blood back up the system.

If you notice developing symptoms such as aching, heaviness, fatigue or swelling, have a consultation with a venous specialist, today's treatments have you back on your feet and enjoying life straight away!

AuthorNicholas Kemp

Varicose veins are damaged veins that have become enlarged and sometimes twisted. They appear blue to dark blue in colour due to the accumulation of deoxygenated blood, and can often bulge out from the surface of the skin. Varicose veins can cause mild to moderate pain and are sometimes associated with ulcers or sores on the skin. Although varicose veins can occur anywhere on the body, they are most commonly found on the legs.

What Causes Varicose Veins

While oxygenated blood travels through the body in the arteries, deoxygenated blood travels back to the heart through the veins. Since the pathway back to the heart must go against gravity, veins have a system of small leaflet valves that are designed to prevent the back flow of blood. However, if the leaflets of these valves become damaged so that they do not close properly, the deoxygenated blood can flow back and accumulate in the veins causing varicose veins. The condition is exacerbated if the walls of the veins become weakened. In some cases, these factors are hereditary. However, lifestyle factors, such as being too sedentary, can also contribute to vein valve damage and the weakening of the vein walls. For women, hormonal imbalances can also contribute to the formation of varicose veins.

Dangers Of Varicose Veins

One of the most frequent problems encountered with varicose veins is serious bleeding. This occurs because skin over the varicose veins is often very thin and fragile. Therefore, it is easier for bleeding to occur in these areas if the skin is broken. For this reason, people with varicose veins should be more gentle when drying off with a bath towel and when scrubbing the skin around their varicose veins, such as with a loofah sponge or another type of abrasive cleaning aid. The most serious potential danger of varicose veins is the formation of blood clots.

There are two basic types of blood clots. The first type of blood clot is called superficial thrombophlebitis. This occurs just below the skin and can be painful, but it is usually not life threatening. The second type of blood clot is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT) which is a clot in a deeper vein. This second type of blood clot can be life threatening, in part because it often goes undetected, and because it can potentially break off and travel to the lungs.

Treatment Options For Varicose Veins

There are several types of treatment for varicose veins. Here are the most common treatments:

1. Compression Stockings
You can buy these stockings over the counter or have them prescribed by your doctor. These stockings are designed put pressure against your veins which can relieve pain and prevent accumulation of fluids in your legs and feet. Prescription compression stockings usually provide more pressure than over the counter ones. If you need just a little support, you can also try using support pantyhose.

2. Sclerotherapy

This procedure can be performed in a doctor's office with no anaesthesia. The doctor injects each varicose vein with a chemical that causes the vein walls to swell so much they stick together and then permanently seal shut. The sealed vein then turns into scar tissue, and in most cases, the colour completely fades away. In some cases, it may take more than one sclerotherapy treatment to get the vein to seal permanently and fade.

3. Ultrasound-guided Sclerotherapy

This procedure is very similar to sclerotherapy except ultrasound is used to guide the needle. This is used for varicose veins that are not as close to the surface and may be difficult for the doctor to view.

4. Stripping

Stripping is a type of surgery where the varicose veins are tied shut and then surgically removed through small cuts in the skin. This procedure does require anaesthesia and approximately four weeks recovery time.

How To Prevent Varicose Veins

Even if varicose veins run in your family, there are several ways you can prevent, or at least reduce, varicose veins. Here are some of the best ways:

1. Walking and Other Exercise

Walking and any other forms of exercise that gets your legs moving creates a blood pump in the leg muscles that strengthens the veins and improves blood flow. Fun activities like gardening, bike riding, tennis, chasing the kids, and playing with your dog can help a lot.

2. Don't Cross Your Legs

When you are sitting, do not cross your legs as this can seriously impair blood flow.

3. Lose Weight

Extra weight puts a lot of extra pressure on your legs and can hasten the formation of varicose veins.

4. Don't Sit Or Stand In One Place Too Long

If you have a sedentary job, try to get up at least once an hour and move around a bit. When you are sitting, try to elevate your legs on a footstool.

AuthorNicholas Kemp

As you prepare for your little bundle of joy to arrive, you’re busy dealing with nursery colors, baby names, birth plans, and much more. The last thing you want to worry about are the unsightly and sometimes painful, varicose veins that you recently noticed on your legs.

Varicose veins are swollen blood vessels that are found in the lower part of the body, usually the legs and thighs. They are typically caused by high blood pressure, as the veins have a hard time circulating the blood through the body.

What causes varicose veins during pregnancy?

When you’re pregnant, your body is producing extra volumes of blood to support you and your baby. This can put additional pressure on your blood vessels; especially those in the legs, making your veins work harder to circulate the blood throughout the body.

Furthermore, your body is going through numerous changes to be able to house your baby. A big change is the increase in progesterone, a hormone that relaxes your blood vessels in addition to softening cartilage and keeping your little one safe. These relaxing blood vessels don’t help much as your body is trying to circulate more blood.

How to prevent varicose veins during pregnancy

There is no way to completely prevent varicose veins from happening. Women who did not have varicose veins before their pregnancy may see their veins go back to normal. However, if you have another baby, there is a chance of their return.

Varicose veins are also hereditary. If they run in your family, you are more likely to develop them during pregnancy.

What to do about varicose veins during pregnancy

Here are some tips to help you deal with varicose veins during your pregnancy:

  • Exercise. Get your legs moving by taking a walk or performing other low-aerobic activity. This will help keep the blood circulating.
  • Wear compression stockings. Compression stockings can help to relieve pain in the legs, in addition to giving your veins more support.
  • Maintain a healthy pregnancy weight. While weight gain during pregnancy is normal, excessive weight gain can put extra strain and stress on your blood vessels, increasing the chances of developing varicose veins.
  • Avoid standing or sitting for prolonged periods of time. It is recommended that you walk or stretch every hour to avoid putting excess pressure on the blood vessels.

If your varicose veins do not go away after your pregnancy, then you should speak to a varicose vein specialist. Varicose veins can be a sign of a more serious vein complication and should be thoroughly examined by a qualified doctor, who will be able to tell you if treatment options, such as Enodovenous Laser Therapy or Sclerotherapy, are available

AuthorNicholas Kemp

Are you not coming for treatment of your spider veins because you are afraid of needles or pain? The Leg Vein Doctor in Brisbane and Toowoomba can help reassure you that treatment may not be as scary as you think. 

AuthorNicholas Kemp