If you are suffering from varicose veins or feel that you may be at risk then you’ll naturally want to know about possible treatments. Figures indicate that at least one in three of us could be affected by this condition at some time in our lives so what lies ahead if you have been diagnosed?
Firstly, before moving any further, it’s important to understand that surgery is not the only option. The employment of laser treatment via a method known as EVLT is a popular alternative for private clients and the benefits of going down this route are abundant.
The NHS View
The NHS provides a wonderful service but in regards to varicose veins, potential patients may have to play the waiting game. One issue lies in the fact that a proportion of sufferers will experience no pain or discomfort. The issue can be purely cosmetic and while the veins can be extremely unsightly, the NHS will not act in these cases.
If mild to moderate discomfort is experienced, patients may be asked to self administer for six months. This period can involve the use of compression stockings although these won’t be prescribed for everyone. While not exactly a treatment ‘device’ these stockings can assist circulation but patients will be subjected to a test known as a Doppler Investigation which will establish their suitability.
An exercise programme can also be devised at this stage while patients are likely to be advised against standing for long periods of time. At the end of that six month period, the patient’s progress will then be assessed. If there is no improvement, surgery could be the next stage but there are alternative options.
Of the devices that are most likely to be used at your local varicose veins clinic, lasers are among the most common and effective methods. For practises that deal with the condition, their function is associated with the procedure known as EVLT. This stands for Endovenous Laser Ablation Therapy and this will close veins off, thereby allowing for proper circulation to be restored and the damaged veins will then disappear in a matter of weeks.
Usually, patients undergoing EVLT will be given local anaesthetic but there is the option for the general alternative, subject to an additional charge. The procedure involves a small incision and, once complete, those patients can expect to return to their normal activities almost immediately.
That fast recovery is one reason why laser devices, and EVLT specifically, are important to varicose veins clinics but this is a developing sector and a new alternative is coming onto the market.
In 2016, a new device for the treatment of varicose veins arrived and it is steadily being picked up by a number of private practitioners. It’s called BioVena and it works by looking to promote the body’s own natural healing process.
BioVena can also be used to treat a number of conditions in the legs including ulcers and general wounds and, as another option where patient’s comfort is the main consideration, it’s proving to be very popular. BioVena is a thermal device and only one injection is needed in order to set things in motion.
One of the co-founders of the BioInnovate Fellowship at NUI Galway who are behind the BioVena device stated that the treatment was developed in order to address patients’ concerns over the pain associated with traditional varicose veins surgery. Nigel Phelan confirmed that with just one swift anaesthetic injection, there are no issues from this point as there are no pain nerves within the veins.
The development of treatments now means that patients have more choice than ever before when it comes to dealing with varicose veins. The NHS route is still available and it may well offer some help in the cases of mild sufferers but remember, there is no treatment available for issues that are purely cosmetic.
The devices currently in use, both under the EVLT method and with Biovena, are there to ensure that surgery is seen as a last resort. Patients will need to look at private treatment but with clinics armed to deal with the condition quickly and painlessly, this is a route that more and more sufferers are considering.