by Dr Ashok Gupta, Specialist Vascular Surgeon
Varicose veins are the dilated, clearly visible, bluish channels, seen on the legs , almost invariably . They occur commonly in women particularly after multiple pregnancies, also in young men and women, who indulge in sport and regular physical activities.
Veins are the blood vessel that bring back the blood to the heart, from the tissues, due to the erect posture of the human being, the return of flow from the lower limbs , is always against the force of gravity.
Nature has created an intrinsic system in the limbs, particularly in the lower limbs – to ensure uni- directional flow from the peripheries to the heart.
This system consists of valves, which are present at definite anatomical locations in the limbs. Due to various reasons , including , the hormonal changes in women , dilatation of veins in sports persons and in certain families , these valves , lose their unique function and allow a bi – directional flow of blood across them . This results in a high pressure of venous blood, maximally felt in the lowest part of the limb ie around the ankles.
What the person normally sees is dilated, disfiguring bluish channels accompanied by heaviness and pain in the legs, worse at the end of the round / day.
Diagnosis of varicose veins can be made by a clinical assessment and a non – invasive venous ultrasound scan. The treatment involves the use of medicated stockings, oral medication and a minimally invasive procedure, in a select subset of patients. This decision is made following the results of the venous ultrasound scan.
Current internationally accepted techniques include the use of heat, lasers and the latest is the bio – active glue. This product is injected directly into the defective vein and is allowed to seal close the vein. Since the vein gets occluded, it ceases to leak high pressure blood form the deeper veins in the lower part of the limb. The result is the bluish channels diminish and symptoms of heaviness / pain improve / subside in a very high percentage of patients. The success rates is over 95%
In conclusion, it can be said that varicose veins are a physical activity related condition and a highly successful treatment can be offered to all the patients. A modern minimally invasive procedure has now almost replaced open surgery for the condition.
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