WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS AFTER TREATMENT FOR VARICOSE VEINS?
In general, treatments for varicose veins have a very low rate of complications. As far as injections are concerned, the most feared complications are allergy to the drug (rare), phlebitis (rare) and intra-arterial injection (also rare).
For endovenous laser or phlebectomy procedures, you will also be advised of the risks of localized numbness in the event of sensitive nerve damage (infrequent) and the risk of bleeding (rare).
Superficial reddish venules may appear during the treatment of larger varicose veins. These will be subsequently treated with superficial injections.
ARE THERE ANY RESTRICTIONS ON PHYSICAL ACTIVITY DURING THE TREATMENTS?
Immediately after treatment for superficial varicose veins, there is no contraindication to continuing with your regular physical activities. For treatments of wider varicose veins, we will recommend you to refrain from doing strenuous sports activities for the week following the treatment, such as jogging, tennis, etc. On the other hand, regardless of the treatment you have received, walking is always indicated, and is even favorable for healing.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL BE REQUIRED?
The number of sessions obviously varies depending on the extent of the varicose vein disease. Each treatment plan is individualized for each patient. A majority of patients will need injections only, spread over several sessions. Others will need needle phlebectomy or endovenous laser ablation, in the case of an incompetent saphenous vein, for instance.
HOW DOES AN INJECTION SESSION GO?
Treatments last about ten minutes on an average, and the number of injections varies depending on the problem being treated.
ARE THE TREATMENTS PAINFUL?
For most people, the answer is no. The injections are subcutaneously administered, like during blood tests. When the product is injected, you can sometimes feel a little momentary burning sensation.
WHAT IS A VARICOSE VEIN?
The circulatory system is made up of two types of blood vessels, arteries and veins, which form a continuous network. Thus, the oxygenated blood is pumped by the heart via the arteries to the extremities of the body, it then returns to the heart via the venous network.
The contraction of the muscles of the lower limbs allows blood to flow back to the region of the heart. For example, when walking or running, they contract and exert natural pressure on the veins, pushing blood up the body. However, when the muscles are resting, blood tends to flow naturally down the body. Fortunately, the veins have one-way valves that only open when blood returns to the heart.
Weakness of the network
If, for various reasons, some valves are damaged, blood can no longer flow in just one direction. The blood stream then flows naturally down the body, causing congestion and dilation in the diseased vein and its collateral branches. This condition is called venous insufficiency. Over time, the vein can become irreversibly deformed and become an apparent varicose vein.
How varicose veins look
Varicose veins are sinuous and swollen. They can be skin-colored, blue or green, and can appear anywhere on the legs. Up to 40% of women and 20% of men suffer from symptoms caused by varicose veins. After they reach their 50s, one out of two people will have varicose veins.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH VARICOSE VEINS?
The symptoms can manifest themselves in many forms:
Feeling of heaviness or fatigue in the lower limbs
Brownish discoloration of the skin
WHY SHOULD YOU SEEK TREATMENT FOR VARICOSE VEINS?
In addition to being painful and unsightly, varicose veins could inevitably get worse over time and cause major health problems. Here are the main medical complications that can occur if venous insufficiency is left untreated:
Skin pigmentation, eczema
Phlebitis and pulmonary embolism
WHEN YOU REMOVE A VARICOSE VEIN, WHAT HAPPENS WITH BLOOD CIRCULATION AFTER ITS REMOVAL?
In a varicose vein, blood flows in the wrong direction and stagnates, apart from bringing in its share of potential complications. This is why a varicose vein is a burden on venous circulation. Fortunately, the healthy veins around a varicose vein tend to adapt naturally and allow efficient blood circulation regardless. Thus, when we remove a varicose vein, we are actually removing an incompetent vein, and we force the blood to flow only through the healthy veins.
WHAT IS PHLEBITIS?
Phlebitis or thrombophlebitis is an inflammatory condition that occurs inside a vein and leads to the formation of a clot. Sometimes there are very few symptoms and it gets detected very late. However, superficial phlebitis usually manifests itself as a red, painful cord below the surface of the skin.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS?
Prolonged periods standing
DO VARICOSE VEINS COME BACK OVER TIME?
Venous insufficiency is a chronic condition, that is, it constantly continues to evolve over time. New varicose veins can appear at any time during your life. From one individual to another, the degree of severity of the disease can vary widely. It depends on the risk factors that affect you. This is why it is recommended to get regular medical check-ups done.
WHAT IS TRADITIONAL STRIPPING SURGERY?
This surgery involves ligation and removal of the diseased saphenous vein on a metal wire using at least two incisions. It is performed under general or epidural anesthesia. More invasive than the endovenous laser technique, this technique is increasingly losing traction among medical professionals. In fact, it gives rise to more postoperative pain, and the convalescence period is more difficult. However, it continues to be the only procedure covered by the Régie de l'Assurance-maladie du Québec (RAMQ). If this technique turns out to be the only possible option, the patient is advised to get the surgical procedure performed in a hospital.