You can have treatment at any time of the year, however there are a couple of things to bear in mind as you consider when you might want to see a Vein Doctor about treating your veins.
In most cases your Doctor will recommend that you wear medical compression stockings after your treatment for a period of a few days up to a couple of weeks. These stockings are important as they will help to both reduce some potential side-effects and to maximise the benefit that you get from the treatment. If you live in a warm climate, you may prefer to have your treatment during the cooler months so that you are more comfortable wearing your compression stockings.
Many people also wish to have their veins treated before summer arrives, so that they can feel confident and comfortable wearing clothing that reveals their legs. A course of treatment for spider and varicose veins may require several sessions which are usually spaced a few weeks apart, as it can takes a few weeks for some types of treatment to have their full effect before the next one can be performed. You should take this timing into account as you plan when to visit a Vein Doctor.
Most of the Vein Doctors who specialise in these procedures are in private practice and are in high demand, so it can often be a while before you can get an appointment to see them. So don’t leave it too late in the year to make your appointment if you are eager to see results by the time summer comes around.
Each different type of treatment for spider and varicose veins has different requirements after the procedure. Your Doctor will give you detailed instructions that will help to maximise the safety and effectiveness of your treatment.
Most of the treatment options are minimally invasive and allow a very quick return to normal activities, usually right after the procedure. Even varicose vein surgery usually only involves around a week of down-time before you can go back to work.
The cost of your treatment will depend on many factors, such as which types of procedures need to be used. In general, sclerotherapy of spider veins is the least expensive, followed by Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy of varicose veins. Endovenous Ablation and Surgery are generally more expensive options.
In many cases you may qualify for a rebate for Medicare for your procedure. Potential rebates – which depend on your safety net threshold, the extent of treatment required, and whether you have your procedure in hospital or not – are as follows:
- Sclerotherapy: $82.35 – $109.80
- Endovenous Ablation: $400.20 – $793.30
- Phlebectomy: $200.75 – $267.65
- Surgery: $400.20 – $1193.40
For treatments involving only very small spider veins, a Medicare rebate is not available.
Your Doctor will be able to provide detailed information about the potential costs and rebates available for you.
- The extent, location and severity of your vein problems
- The type of treatment procedure your Doctor has recommended
- How fast you recover and respond to the treatment
- The specific treatment outcomes you and your Doctor are hoping to achieve
You Doctor will be able to give you an estimate after examining you and conducting diagnostic tests.
In general, sclerotherapy procedures may require multiple treatment sessions to the same area at a spacing of 4-6 weeks apart.
Endovenous Ablation and Surgical techniques only require a single treatment per location, however if many locations require treatment then this may mean more than one treatment session.
Often a patient will require Endovenous Ablation or Surgery for the larger varicose veins, with sclerotherapy used in some of the smaller veins. When this is the case it is usually the case that the different procedures will be performed in different treatment sessions, although in some cases they may be combined into a single session.
Afterwards you’ll feel some discomfort but usually not enough to affect your daily routine, and your Doctor may recommend some regular pain relief to address this.
During ligation and stripping surgical treatments the surgeon will cut through your skin to reach the abnormal veins. A general anesthetic is used to put you to sleep for the entire process. You won’t feel any pain during the surgery. When you wake up the area where cuts were made will be numb. Expect some tingling or burning when the anesthesia wears off, but severe pain is very rare. Again, your Doctor will give you pain relievers to ease any discomfort.
Varicose veins treatment is usually not recommended for pregnant women.
Varicose veins that occur during pregnancy usually improve within 3-12 months of delivery, even without treatment. So, if you are breastfeeding within this period there would be no need for treatment. It is highly advisable to practice self-care.
Generally, with each successive pregnancy abnormal varicose veins will remain and may get worse.
As a child grows in the womb, the uterus enlarges and fluid volumes increase, causing increased venous pressure in a woman’s veins. If the veins cannot overcome this pressure, backflow of blood can result and the valves and elasticity of the veins are damaged. Levels of a hormone called progesterone also become elevated during pregnancy, which can also cause veins to relax and the valves to weaken. These changes can cause spider and varicose veins. Varicose veins worsen with each pregnancy because the valves continually become stretched and weakened.
Most experts agree that you should not wait until after you have finished having children to have treatment. This is especially true if you experience pain, cramping, itching, swelling, heaviness or other bothersome problems in your legs. Proper treatment before your next pregnancy can prevent complications.
After sclerotherapy treatment your legs will be immediately wrapped in elastic bandages to control bleeding and you will have to walk around for half an hour. The elastic bandages will have to be in place for 2-3 days. You can start your normal activities after a day or so and use compression stockings during the day for a week after treatment.
After Endovenous Laser Ablation you will have to wear compression stockings for several days.
After vein surgery you will keep your leg covered with elastic bandages or compression stockings for the first couple of days to prevent bleeding. You wear compression stockings for up to 10 days to alleviate bruising and make the leg comfortable.
You should exercise daily after your surgery (eg walking or using an exercise bike). Resting or being sedentary puts you at risk for deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in your deep veins).
You will require follow up medical appointments where your doctor will use a duplex ultrasound to make sure the veins are closed.
Always follow the instructions of your doctor for a succesful recovery.