Department of General and Laparoscopic Surgery


LASER VARICOSE SURGERY

Varicose veins are veins under the skin of the legs which have become widened, bulging and twisted. They are very common and do not cause medical problems in most people. So many people have no symptoms at all from their varicose veins, except for the fact that they are noticeable, and their appearance can be embarrassing. Simply having varicose veins is not a good reason for having treatment. Other than cosmetic embarrassment the common symptoms of varicose veins are aching, discomfort, and heaviness of the legs, which are usually worse at the end of the day. Sometimes the ankle can swell, too. These symptoms are not medically serious, but can be treated if they are sufficiently troublesome. Although varicose veins can get worse over the years, this often happens very slowly and worry that "they might get worse" is not a good reason for treatment if the veins are not causing symptoms. In a few people the high pressure in the veins causes damage to the skin near the ankle, which can become brown in colour, sometimes with scarred white areas. Eczema (a red skin rash) can develop. If these changes are allowed to progress, or if the skin is injured, an ulcer may result. Skin changes are therefore a good reason to sought a treatment.

Laser treatment is one of the latest forms of treatment that can be offered for certain patients with varicose veins. It is not suitable for all types of varicose veins. It can only be used on a certain group of patients who have a long, and fairly straight, segment of vein in their leg.

It is a very safe procedure with very few complications. Patients have less pain and bruising after treatment than with the standard surgical stripping procedure, which is the traditional treatment for varicose veins. In addition, most people recover quicker with laser treatment than traditional varicose vein surgery.

Laser treatment is used to seal off the main vein under the skin in the thigh or the calf. This takes away the head of pressure which causes varicose veins to bulge and cause symptoms. Sometimes we need to use a combination of laser treatment in the thigh and foam sclerotherapy of the main vein at the knee or upper calf. If required, this may be done at the same treatment session or at a later date.

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