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Varicose Veins

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins effect up to 30% of the Australian population. Laser medical treatment offers an alternative to traditional surgery for those patients that require treatment.

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What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are leg veins that do not pump blood effectively up the legs to the heart. They are often seen as bulging veins just underneath your skin on either or both legs. All veins contain small valves that propel blood up the body towards the heart. However sometimes these valves don’t work properly, so that blood that is meant to be pushed towards the heart moves or “leaks” instead downwards in the legs due to gravity. The extra pressure inside the veins causes them to bulge outwards. There are other leg veins that are still working properly, so your blood does eventually arrive through other routes to your heart. Apart from being unsightly, these leaky veins effect your circulatory system in a negative way.

Varicose veins have many possible causes, including:





Both men and women experience varicose veins; however women seem to be at greater risk, this could be due to hormones, pregnancy and/or genetics. Varicose veins are different from spider veins, which are smaller, red, purple or blue veins near the surface of the skin on the legs, ankles, feet and sometimes the face. Spider veins do not usually bulge and usually pose no medical risk.

Left untreated, varicose veins do carry some medical risks. If the “leak” in these veins is severe, over time it can cause inflammation to the surrounding skin. Some varicose veins may cause aching, throbbing, or the feeling of restless legs after a long day. Over a period of years they can cause a brown pigmentation, hardening of your skin, and even a skin ulcer. People with varicose veins are also at a higher risk of blood clots, also known as deep vein thrombosis or DVT. DVT is dangerous medical condition and can require immediate medical attention.

The team of doctors at the Vein Institute are ready to help you assess your varicose veins and choose an effective treatment if necessary.

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As advanced as science is, it’s still unclear what causes varicose veins. However, we know varicose veins are hereditary in family genes, prominent in pregnancies, are consistent with the use of the oral contraceptive pill and standing for long periods of time is also a contributing factor of varicose vein development.


Generally vein pain can be associated with a dull ache or heaviness. Swelling or itching of the legs at the end of the day can also occur. Rarely a brown pigment can be seen around the veins which is caused as a result of your varicose veins – which is a sign of more severe disease.

How varicose veins develop?

A definitive cause is not known however a strong family history suggests that some people inherit veins that are more likely to deteriorate. Blood in leg veins normally travel upward to the heart. Due to gravity, blood tries to flow back down toward the feet. However, normal veins have valves which close to prevent abnormal flow toward the feet. It is the breakdown of the valves that leads to abnormal flow, which in turn leads to increased pressure in the vein. The increased pressure eventually causes the vein wall to expand and bulge producing a varicose vein. Varicose veins serve no useful function to the body’s circulation. Our body has the ability to establish alternative pathways to bypass the abnormal varicose veins. When varicose veins are closed down, the circulatory system improves, as do many of the symptoms.

Risk factors of varicose veins

A common myth is that veins merely affect the older population, which isn’t true. Women can develop varicose veins during pregnancy. Other patients include those whose occupations involve standing on their feet all day e.g tradesmen, hairdressers, retail staff and factory workers. These people will often have a higher risk of developing varicose veins. Also, if both parents suffer from varicose veins, there is a 70% chance of developing the condition yourself – up to 40% with one parent. If you are experiencing vein pain, avoid exposure to excessive heat e.g. hot tubs, spas, or saunas. Heat increases inflammation and swelling, and will also increase vein distention. Varicose veins are large and can become fragile. Excessive heat can rupture the veins and cause heavy bleeding inside the leg.

Do I really need treatment?

Every case is different, so if symptoms arise, you need to discuss your personal circumstances with one of our doctors. Apart from the symptoms that present with varicose veins, they can be unsightly too. There are some veins that can cause medical symptoms, and again if symptoms arise we strongly suggest you discussing your case with our doctors.

First consultation

One of our doctors will take a medical history and listen to your concerns. After this a short scan will be performed letting you know whether you have varicose vein disease. A discussion of your treatment options will then happen.  In some cases treatment may not be recommended depending on your medical circumstances.

varicose veins treatment endovenous laser

Scan to assess your veins

Varicose veins are easy to diagnose on the surface, however, these leg veins often have a deeper source. To determine their extent, a specialised safe scan (known as ultrasound) is required to assess these leg veins which cannot be seen from the skin. During this time other important veins will be looked at to exclude more sinister vein disease.

Treatment outcomes

To improve your venous circulation, treatment may be recommended by one of our doctors using a laser treatment method. Your blood will then be able to find its way back to your heart via a more efficient path. Most patients find relief of leg aches after treatment. Click here to find out our patient outcomes

Are Your Veins Trying To Tell You Something?

Clinics conveniently located in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane and Adelaide. Call us today to speak to a vein expert and discuss your needs.

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1300 535 017
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