Varicose veins are veins that have become enlarged and twisted. The term commonly refers to the veins on the leg, although varicose veins can occur elsewhere. Varicose veins form when the one-way valves of the leg veins fail to prevent back-flow of blood.
Vein walls become stretched and the valve is no longer able to close properly. As a result, there is pooling of blood in the leg veins near to the skin, and they become visible as bulging blue or purple veins.
Vascular ultrasound scan
Our Imaging Department can offer this scan, which takes the form of a Lower Limb Venous Duplex Scan. This is an ultrasound scan of the leg veins and takes up to 45 minutes and is for deep vein thrombosis - acute and chronic, varicose veins.
For some people, varicose veins present no symptoms other than the unsightly bulges. For others, symptoms range from mild aching and swelling to intense throbbing, itching and cramps.
Traditionally, varicose veins have been treated through surgery to remove the veins, however new techniques now exist to treat varicose veins. The London Clinic offers the Endolaser Vein System (ELVeS) which is carried out in our minimally invasive treatment unit (MITU).
ELVeS treatment for varicose veins takes less than an hour and is carried out under anaesthetic.
The ELVeS uses light energy to narrow the walls of the vein and direct the blood supply to healthier areas. Ultrasound is first used to identify the damaged veins, before inserting the laser into the vein. During the procedure the path of the laser energy is seen on the screen. The precise laser does not harm the surrounding tissue.
Unlike some other treatments, ELVeS leaves the skin smooth without changes in pigmentation and less bruising initially. RECOVERY
Recovery after treatment with ELVeS is usually quick and almost without pain. The recovery time means that normal activities, other than strenuous exercise, can be resumed within 24 hours. A compression stocking must be worn for around a week.