by Dr. Christos Rigopoulos, Consultant Vascular Surgeon, Euroclinic Athens & Euromedica Rhodos
Varicose veins are the abnormally swollen veins in the legs. Patients usually call them “phlebitis”. Varicose veins are linked with heredity while other related factors are prolonged standing, sedentary life, obesity and pregnancy.
Varicose veins are usually related with symptoms like swelling, heaviness, burning sensation, itching and night cramps. Furthermore, depending on the size and duration of the problem, there can be complications like thrombosis, bleeding and skin conditions that could lead to ulcer. Treatment in an early stage can be conservative and is based on the use of compression stockings. The definite and permanent solution, though, is surgery. The standard surgical approach is removing the “defective” veins through skin incisions.
During the last few years, though, new techniques have been developed, where treatment is achieved by applying heat locally by laser or radiofrequency (RF) (endovenous ablation). This method includes local anaesthesia, no surgical incisions, and the patient can walk immediately after the procedure and return to work the very next day!
The advantages of immediate post-surgical rehabilitation, the excellent aesthetic result and the possibility of having it under local anesthetic, have determined intravenous removal as the main method in dealing with a varicose veins, without however this meaning that it is a panacea, since the “classical’ open method continues to be necessary in certain cases in which anatomical limitations (size or the course of the vein) or other factors (previous thrombosis or treatment of the main saphenous) do not permit the application of the intravenous method.
In any event, careful pre-surgical planning, and the individualized selection of the appropriate method for each patient, is the most significant prerequisite for successful surgical treatment.
This article was originally printed in Grecian, Magazine of the Airports of Rhodos – Kos – Samos