What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are small blue or red swollen veins on the legs. They are usually tiny, with a diameter of one millimetre or less (a.k.a. spider veins or thread veins), but they can also be larger. The tendency to get varicose veins is commonly hereditary and occurs more commonly in women than men (spider veins in particular). Varicose veins are not pretty and can lead to various problems in the long run: pain in the legs, cramps, swollen legs, skin problems or bleeding if you bump your leg. So, in many cases, varicose veins do cause medical problems. Tiny spider veins can also cause problems, for example, they may cause a painful or tender sensation in the legs. In treating varicose veins, attention should be given to both cosmetic and medical aspects as all patients would like to have pretty and healthy legs.
More about the causes and consequences of varicose veins
In terms of their causes, varicose veins are classified into two groups: primary and secondary varicose veins. Most people have primary varicose veins. Primary varicose veins often have no clear cause and usually involve a tendency which also occurs in other family members. Probably as a result of this (genetically determined) tendency, the vein wall is slightly weaker and the tiny valves in the vein, which should transport the blood upwards, are less strong. Consequently, the blood in the veins is transported less easily, which may cause swelling of the veins. Certain factors, such as pregnancy or work that requires prolonged standing, may aggravate varicose veins.
Secondary varicose veins occur after a disorder such as thrombosis in the leg (blood clot). This occurs in a minority of people. There are varicose veins in all sizes, from tiny spider veins to large veins with a diameter of several centimetres. Not all veins are visible. Tiny spider veins often link up with larger veins beneath the skin which are not visible to the eye. These veins can also cause problems. When examining varicose veins, we therefore also perform an ultrasound duplex scan to examine the internal veins.
The Wetering Medical Centre is specialized in treating varicose veins. We have a phlebology team consisting of two dermatologist, a phlebologist, a surgeon and two vascular laboratory technicians. The physicians gained experience in phlebology at various hospitals. Phlebology was also the subject of Dr Krijnen’s doctoral thesis. The physicians joined their expertise in this centre where the focus is on the patient and high quality care is provided by a permanent team of medical specialists.
Examples of varicose veins and their treatment
Tiny varicose veins (spider veins/thread veins) are usually treated with injections (sclerotherapy). The tiniest (remaining) red vessels can be treated with a skin laser.
More about the treatment of varicose veins using sclerotherapy
Medium-sized varicose veins
Medium-sized varicose veins are usually treated with injections or ambulatory phlebectomy according to Muller.
More about the treatment of varicose veins using sclerotherapy.
More about the treatment of varicose veins using ambulatory phlebectomy according to Muller.
large varicose veins
Effective treatment of large varicose veins usually requires endovenous ablation (EVLT). Large varicose veins are sometimes also treated with ambulatory phlebectomy according to Muller.
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