Ah, summer clothes shopping. Such a double-edged sword.
There’s the excitement about what it means: the months of sunshine and warmth to come, all of the outdoor activities, the longer days and hours of sunshine after work, the alfresco catch-ups, the beach trips.
But peeling off the layers of clothing—particularly under those harsh, fluorescent lights they love to put in change rooms—can be less than fun.
If you’ve got varicose veins, you might think it’s easier to just stay attached to your beloved jeans and sweat through to autumn. You may have heard from older relatives about traditional varicose vein treatments and thought, “no thanks”.
But newer techniques are not only almost pain-free, they also require no downtime.
Traditionally, treatment of varicose veins involved a doctor literally pulling out a vein during a procedure under general anaesthetic at the hospital. Not only could it take weeks to recover, but the chance the vein would grow back is around 35-45%.
But newer varicose vein treatments are nothing like that. Treatments are quick, minimally invasive, and performed in a private clinic using local anaesthetic. Even better—patients can walk straight out after the treatment.
The Vein Institute is a private clinic specialising in the treatment of varicose veins, offering state-of-the-art laser technology.
With a passion for all-things veins, director Dr Zil Yassine first opened the clinic in Sydney in 2014. He now leads a team of specialist phlebologists, and interventional radiologists at clinics across Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.
While they offer traditional varicose veins surgical techniques, Dr Zil says the clinics are all about helping patients with minimally invasive options. This means the least downtime and disruption.
Varicose veins aren’t actually a singular issue, but are the result of a medical condition which can make some veins swollen, enlarged and twisted with a blue or purple appearance. While any vein in the body can become varicose, the veins most commonly impacted are those in the legs. So what causes them?
“We don’t really know. We believe it’s a genetic condition in 70% of cases, with maternal inheritance rates being higher than paternal,” said Dr Zil.
“There’s a Danish study that shows if you stand for more than eight hours a day, like with nurses or hospitality staff, there is an increased presence. But the oral contraceptive pill, multiple pregnancies or trauma to your legs can also play a role.”
Some people who get varicose veins may notice no real symptoms at all. Others may suffer from swelling, pain, itchiness or a feeling of heaviness in the legs. Some more severe cases can lead to ulcers, blood clots or deep vein thrombosis.
To treat varicose veins, The Vein Institute offers a range of procedures which are as effective as surgery, but don’t require hospitalisation.
One of the most effective is the Endovenous Laser Ablation. This implies a laser that we insert into the relevant vein. First, a local anaesthetic is inserted to minimise pain, then the laser seals the vein from the inside so it will shrink over time and disappear as the body heals.
The initial session takes about 45 minutes, and the patient can walk in and out. Patients generally then need two short 30 minute follow-up sessions. These only involve an injection at the site. Also, the treatments offer a 98% success rate of the vein not re-growing.
Just because you have varicose veins, doesn’t mean you have to treat them, but Dr Zil said it’s best to get them looked at by a professional.
“The general advice I give is to have the veins assessed and addressed. At least then you get an expert opinion as to the severity. But it’s up to the patient whether they want treatment or not,” he said.
“If the veins are affecting your lifestyle every day, for example, if after work you have to spend half an hour raising your legs to get them feeling normal, I’d suggest you should consider a form of treatment and reap the benefits.”
So those floaty summer dresses could actually be in your future after all!
What: The Vein Institute is a vein clinic specialising in laser treatment of painful varicose veins.
Where: Barton Street Specialist Centre, Level 2, 3 Sydney Ave, Barton
Phone: 1300 535 017
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