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What are varicose veins and what are non-surgical varicose vein treatments?

You've been told you have varicose veins. This blog discusses varicose veins in greater detail and answers some of the most frequently asked questions. If you have any additional questions or concerns after reading it, write them down and bring them up at your next appointment in Hadi clinic and discuss it with our top vascular specialists in Kuwait.


What exactly are varicose veins?
Visible veins on your legs and arms are completely normal. Varicose veins, on the other hand, are veins under the skin of the legs that have grown larger and more tortuous than normal.They are not to be confused with spider (thread) veins, which are tiny veins in the skin. Although unsightly, these do not cause any problems.

What causes them?
Blood flows down the legs via the arteries and back up via the veins. Deep veins, which carry most of the blood up the legs to the heart, and superficial veins under the skin, which are less important and can form varicose veins, are the two main systems of veins in the legs. All of these veins have valves that should only allow blood to flow upward and from the superficial to the deep system.When the veins are damaged, the valves stop working properly. When standing, walking, or sitting, blood can flow backwards down the veins, causing a pressure head. This causes symptoms and can result in veins becoming larger and more visible.
Why did I get them?
• There is no specific cause for varicose veins, but they frequently run-in families.
• Varicose veins in women frequently appear first during pregnancy, when hormones relax the vein walls and the womb presses on the veins coming up from the legs.
• Overweight people are more likely to develop varicose veins and find their symptoms bothersome.
• Varicose veins can appear after a deep vein thrombosis (post-thrombotic syndrome) or a broken leg. Both of these can cause deep vein damage, resulting in increased pressure in the superficial veins.
What are the manifestations of varicose veins?
Many people have no symptoms at all, except that the veins are visible and may cause embarrassment. Aside from cosmetic issues, the most common symptoms of varicose veins are:
• Aching and itching over the varicose veins, which is usually worse in hot weather
• Heaviness and swelling of the lower legs, which is usually worse at the end of the day.
These symptoms are not necessarily serious, but they can be treated if they are bothersome enough. Although varicose veins can worsen over time, this usually happens slowly. Worrying that they will worsen is not a good reason to treat veins that are not causing symptoms. 
Are varicose veins harmful?
Varicose veins rarely cause serious complications. In a few cases, high vein pressure causes damage to the skin near the ankle, which can turn brown and eczematous. An ulcer may form if these changes continue or if the skin is injured.
Varicose veins can swell, become hard, painful, and tender. This is referred to as superficial thrombophlebitis (or phlebitis for short). It is not the same as deep vein thrombosis and is rarely life-threatening.
Many people are concerned about the possibility of bleeding from a varicose vein, but this is extremely rare and usually stops with firm pressure. Any complication of varicose veins is a good reason to see your primary care physician and request a referral to a specialist.
Do I need to make any tests?
Before deciding on which treatment, if any, is required, a painless duplex ultrasound scan may be required.

How can I know if I need treatment 
Varicose vein treatments vary depending on their location, severity, and your surgical readiness. After examining you, at Hadi clinic our best rated vascular surgeons in Kuwait will discuss your options with you in the outpatient clinic.
Conservative treatment: consists of lifestyle advice, exercise, leg elevation, and the use of compression hosiery. A more comprehensive advice sheet is available.
Injection sclerotherapy: This treatment is administered in an outpatient clinic or day surgery department and consists of injecting a chemical into the varicose veins, causing them to seal off. Two or three visits to the clinic may be required to remove all visible veins.

Surgical treatment: A general or spinal anesthetic is used during surgery, as well as several cuts to your leg (s).

This is usually done as a day case, but it can also be done as an inpatient. Although surgery generally produces good long-term results, some patients do develop new varicose veins over time. A more comprehensive advice sheet is available.

Endovenous laser / Radiofrequency ablation: newer techniques have been developed that use heat to damage the vein wall and cause it to close off. These avoid the need for traditional surgery, though the long-term outcomes are unknown. This is now recommended as the first line of treatment for varicose vein patients. Endovenous laser treatment has been introduced at Hadi clinic the best vascular hospital in Kuwait and is available to suitable patients with varicose veins. A more detailed recommendation sheet is available.

Mechanicochemical ablation: This is a newer keyhole treatment technique that is performed under local anaesthesia. Closure of the vein is accomplished by using a device that rapidly rotates in conjunction with the administration of a drug that irritates the vein wall, causing closure of the treated vein. There are fewer long-term results of this treatment available, but preliminary evidence suggests that it has similar success rates to laser or conventional surgical treatment.

What can I do to help myself?
• Eat a well-balanced diet that contains fresh fruits and also vegetables.

• If you are overweight, try to lose weight because excess weight puts more strain on the veins.

• Exercise regularly because it helps the calf muscles to pump blood through the veins. If you can't walk, try moving your feet up and down while sitting or lying down. Consider an exercise bike.

 • Avoid the sitting especially for long periods of time. 

• Smoking damages the arteries in your legs and it is better for your overall health to quit smoking.

 • Use compression stockings fitted by a medical professional to avoid exacerbating existing varicose veins.

At Hadi Clinic, the Best Vascular Surgery Department in Kuwait screens for, diagnosis, treats, and manages diseases and conditions of the entire vascular system excluding the coronary vessels. The vascular system includes arteries (that take blood away from the heart), veins (that bring blood back to the heart), and lymphatic channels (that drains fluid back to the heart). Common problems in the vascular system mostly fall under narrowing of the vessels, thus decreasing flow and nourishment to the tissues and organs downstream from the problem. Other problems can be secondary to abnormal enlargement (aneurysms) of these vessels and potential associated bleeding problems. Interventions for all the above can be conservative, with non-procedural means or, when indicated, procedures may be offered. Procedures include endovascular procedures that do not require incisions or general anesthesia, and minimal length of stay in the hospital. Other more traditional procedures include a variety of open surgical procedures to treat the same issues. A top vascular surgeon in Kuwait will be best to choose what intervention is best suited for each patient.

Vascular department contact number at Hadi clinic:
Vascular Admin Co-ordinator 25363000 Ext143

Our team

Dr. Abdullah A. Alfawaz
Specialist Vascular and General Surgeon

Dr. Ahmad Alharbi
Senior Registrar Vascular lab