Prevention and treatment of varicose veins and venous diseases
Prevention, treatments and surgery
How to prevent varicose veins?
Vein conditions can worsen over time and affect your health and quality of life. Some good habits should be adopted.
It is recommended to move the legs frequently when sitting too long. It is also best to avoid prolonged static positions, sitting or standing.
You can also get into the good habit of occasionally raising your legs by placing them on a stool or footrest.
Finally, certain measures help prevent varicose veins:
- promote good blood circulation by showering the legs with cool water (or immersing them in a bath), massaging them lightly, then raising them when sleeping;
- after a long day, especially in hot weather, take a cold shower or bath;
- avoid prolonged exposure to heat, such as in a spa or sauna;
- wear compression stockings, especially during pregnancy;
- avoid excess weight by engaging in physical activities such as brisk walking, swimming, and cycling.
It is also recommended to wear comfortable clothes and shoes that do not exert any pressure.
The venous problems experienced by a large part of the population have characteristics that vary from person to person depending on the condition of the veins, the level, extent and location of the varicose veins. Each problem is in itself unique.
One of the ways to prevent or lessen the formation of varicose veins is through the use of compression stockings. These graduated compression stockings delay the formation of varicose veins and spider veins and relieve symptoms such as fatigue, heaviness and inflammation.
In fact, they decrease the pressure in the superficial venous system of the leg. By exerting a stronger pressure around the ankle than around the thigh, they allow a normal return of venous blood to the upper body. Stockings of different elasticities, lengths and colors can be found on the market, all in a range of various styles.
Types of treatments for varicose veins
Treatment of varicose veins by sclerotherapy
This injection technique does not require anesthesia, and is done directly at the Clinique Pierre Larose.
It consists of treating the branches of the saphenous vein (superficial) by injecting a sclerosing agent (in the form of liquid or foam) into the varicose vein using a thin needle. This causes retraction and hardening of the affected vein which will, over a period of about 6 months, become obliterated (sclerotic), then disappear and never come back.
Each sclerotherapy session consists of 20 to 30 injections. Depending on the extent of the patient’s condition, several sessions may be necessary.
On the other hand, sclerotherapy does not prevent the development of new varicosities and follow-up appointments may be required in order to control recurrences.
You do not have to stop working and activities can be resumed immediately after the treatment of your varicose veins. However, it is advisable that you wear a compression stocking for a period of 48 hours.
The cost of sclerotherapy treatments is not covered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec, but several private insurance companies reimburse these costs in part or in full. Ask your representative.
Endovenous ablation by radiofrequency
For the treatment of the saphenous vein, the ablation by radiofrequency is a rapid and minimally invasive procedure. It does not leave a scar, because a thin sheath and a radiofrequency catheter are inserted into the vein after making a tiny incision in the skin.
The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic similar to that used by dentists to numb the treatment area. This treatment takes less than an hour.
Most patients return to work the next day. Only excessive physical activities must be avoided.
Complications are rare and minimal and recent studies report superior results with radiofrequency.
The costs are not covered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec, but many insurance companies reimburse, at least in part, ultrasound costs.
When the veins are too large for sclerotherapy, they can be removed, under local anaesthetic, through a tiny incision through which the dilated vein is pulled out with a special hook. The number of incisions required varies depending on the extent of the disease.
This technique can also be performed in conjunction with an endovenous radiofrequency ablation procedure.
Under ultrasound guidance, echosclerotherapy consists of injecting a liquid in the form of foam into the dilated vein in order to close it and make it disappear.
This technique is only used in very specific situations given its high failure and recurrence rate.
The classic procedure of treating varicose veins by surgery, called stripping, consists of removing the saphenous vein (superficial). To do this, an incision is made in the ankle or knee as well as in the fold of the groin. The procedure must be performed under regional or general anesthesia.
You will need three to four weeks for recovery and your activities will be partially restricted. This procedure must be performed in a hospital setting and the costs are covered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec.