Frequently Asked Questions 2

What are varicose veins and spider veins, and what causes them?

Varicose veins and spider veins are two common types of venous disorders that affect the blood vessels in the legs. They have distinct characteristics and causes:

Varicose Veins:

Appearance: Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted, and often bulging veins that typically appear as blue or purple in color. They can be raised above the skin's surface and may resemble twisted cords or ropes.

Valve Dysfunction: The primary cause of varicose veins is the malfunction of one-way valves in the veins. Veins have valves that help prevent blood from flowing backward. When these valves weaken or become damaged, blood can pool in the veins, causing them to enlarge and become varicose.
Heredity: A family history of varicose veins can increase the likelihood of developing them.
Ageing: The risk of varicose veins tends to increase with age as the elasticity of the veins diminishes.
Pregnancy: Hormonal changes and increased blood volume during pregnancy can contribute to the development of varicose veins.
Raised BMI: Excess weight can put added pressure on the veins in the legs, increasing the risk of varicose veins.
Prolonged Standing or Sitting: Occupations or lifestyles that involve prolonged periods of standing or sitting can lead to poor blood circulation in the legs, contributing to the development of varicose veins.

Spider Veins:

Appearance: Spider veins are smaller, web-like veins that appear close to the skin's surface. They are typically red, blue, or purple and are less prominent than varicose veins.

Heredity: As with varicose veins, a family history of spider veins can increase the likelihood of developing them.
Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations due to pregnancy, menopause, birth control pills, or hormone replacement therapy can contribute to the development of spider veins.
Injury: Trauma or injury to the skin can lead to the formation of spider veins.
Prolonged Sun Exposure: Excessive sun exposure can cause damage to the skin's blood vessels, leading to spider veins, especially on the face.
Raised BMI: Being overweight can increase the risk of spider veins.
Ageing: The ageing process can weaken the blood vessels and make them more prone to developing spider veins.

Are your procedures painful?

Our patients generally report feeling little, if any, pain during and after the procedure. As with any procedure under local anaesthetic, good communication between doctor and patient is vital. We always try to put you in control and promise to listen to you during the procedure.

How long does a keyhole varicose vein treatment take?

Most of our procedures take no more than 1 hour to perform although you will spend most of the morning or afternoon with us. After your treatment, it is safe to go home on the same day although we do not recommend that you drive yourself.

Will I need an an anaesthetic?

Newer techniques for dealing with varicose veins use heat from laser or radiofrequency energy to seal the vein. These procedures are quick and realtively painless so in the majority of cases will require only local anaesthetic.

How quickly after my treatment can I resume normal activity?

After the procedure, you will be given a compression stocking to wear for 10-14 days. We encourage our patients to walk immediately following the procedure and to continue with a normal day afterwards. The next day you should be able to drive, go shopping or attend the gym for low-exertion exercise such as the treadmill. We expect you to resume normal activities or return to work within 1-2 days following the Venefit procedure although it may take a little longer after endovenous laser therapy.

How soon after treatment will my symptoms disappear?

Most patients report an immediate improvement in their symptoms which should continue in the next 1-2 weeks following the procedure. Ulcers and skin changes take a some weeks to settle. Skin pigmentation caused by varicose vein disease may take a few years to improve.

Is there any scarring, bruising, or swelling after the procedure?

Bruising and swelling is usually mild-moderate in appearance and should disappear within 3-4 weeks after the procedure.

Are your treatments covered by my insurance?

All of our treatments at The Vein Clinic are covered by the major health insurers. Occasionally we may be asked to provide a medical report before you are authorised by your insurer to have a treatment.