Frequently Asked Questions
There are two main types of blood vessels in the body, arteries and veins. The arteries have thick walls and move blood away from the heart, while the veins have thinner walls and return the same blood to the heart, minus much of the oxygen and nutrients. To do their job, arteries are tough enough to cope with the pressure generated by the heart to push the blood along, but veins can only withstand low pressure and, where possible, rely on gravity to return blood to the heart.
In the legs, the veins need to work against gravity and so pressure can build up in those closest to the skin’s surface. This can cause the valves within the veins, which are there to help prevent the blood flowing backwards, to fail. This, in turn, leads to venous reflux, venous disease and varicose veins.
The cause of varicose veins relates strongly to genetic predisposition which is why numerous members of the same family may experience vein problems. The severity of these problems may, however, vary between individuals.
Standing for long periods can be a factor that exacerbates vein problems and is particularly problematic in those whose work requires them to stand for prolonged periods.
Pregnancy is a major contributing factor for problem veins in many women. This can be due to a number of factors such as increased circulation and elevated pressure in the pelvic region late in pregnancy that creates pressure in leg veins. There is an increase in the hormone oestrogen which can cause new blood vessels to form as well as weaken the walls of existing blood vessels.
Being overweight can worsen venous disease and can lead to an increased risk of recurrence after vein treatments.
Trauma or injury to the legs can lead to varicose veins.
Varicose veins result in the pooling of blood in the lower limbs which can cause symptoms such as heaviness, tiredness, and discomfort in the legs. If left untreated, varicose veins can lead to leg swelling, skin pigmentation and thickening, eczema and skin ulceration.
Superficial veins that are enlarged and dilated are not working and so act more as storage vessels rather than transport vessels, causing blood to pool within them. Most of our blood is returned to the heart via the deep veins which are much larger veins deep within our muscles. When we eliminate the superficial veins, we force all the blood in the legs to return to the heart via the deep veins which is a more efficient and effective way of doing this. This in fact improves the circulation.
Varicose veins are largely a genetic problem however there are things one can do to stop their progression. Regular exercise, weight loss and reduced standing can play a role in slowing the progression of varicose veins. In severe cases, compression stockings will alleviate symptoms and stop the vein problem from getting worse, but they will not actually treat the condition.
Ultrasound guided vein treatments take between 30 and 60 minutes per session. You will be expected to walk for 30 minutes immediately following the procedure. The procedures are performed using local anaesthetic and you can drive yourself home after. You may have some discomfort on the day of the procedure but this tends to improve over the following few days. The more walking you do, the better the legs feel. The discomfort is not usually severe and should not stop you returning to work or resuming your usual activities following the procedure.
Following the procedure, we recommend low impact exercise for two weeks which includes walking, cycling, swimming or using a cross-trainer. One needs to avoid high impact exercise and weight training for two to four weeks.
There is no limitation to flying short distances, but one cannot take a long-haul flight (four hours or more) for four weeks following any vein treatments. This includes the treatment of thread veins with microsclerotherapy.
Although the legs may feel achy for a few weeks following the treatment, the symptoms you may have been experiencing from the varicose veins should disappear within a couple of days of the treatment.
The veins will start to harden within a few weeks and one may feel some lumpy areas. These gradually soften spontaneously as the body absorbs the vein. Some patients develop hyperpigmentation or staining after treatment which appears as a brown mark on the skin in the distribution of the vein. The staining will completely resolve but it does so in a variable amount of time depending on the individual.
Treated thread and spider veins will not recur, however one may get new thread veins developing over time. Most patients will see us every few years for maintenance microsclerotherapy.
Varicose veins that are treated should not return, but there is a chance of new varicose veins developing over time which probably relates to the severity of one’s genetic predisposition. These are usually easy to treat if acted on early.
No. A pregnancy can cause varicose veins to rapidly enlarge and become severely symptomatic. It is therefore recommended that one does not delay treatment until after one’s family is complete. Ideally, vein treatment should be done before a first pregnancy but can be done at any time in between pregnancies.
Small varicose and spider veins can give rise to symptoms such as itching, burning and pigmentation. In people with spider veins, there are often underlying varicose veins associated with these and if this is the case, the varicose veins need to be treated before the spider veins can be dealt with.
Just as with any medical problem, getting to the source of the matter is most likely to lead to an effective, long-term solution.
With advances in ultrasonography, even small veins and subtle abnormalities can be demonstrated.
Small spider veins can be the result of incompetence in larger vessels and, if these larger vessels are treated, the treatment of the smaller vessels becomes easier, making the process more effective and longer lasting.
At the Crows Nest Cosmetic and Vein Clinic the ultrasound mapping is performed by an experienced sonographer with qualifications in medical ultrasound. Once a mapping of your veins has been undertaken, the ideal course of treatment can be planned and an accurate costing worked out.
This is covered by Medicare, and there is no out of pocket payment required.
The cost is $380 with a rebate of $130 from Medicare.
The cost is $700 per treatment session. Severely affected legs usually require two to three treatments per leg.
Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy
The cost is $1,400 per treatment, on average most people need two treatments per leg to target their varicose veins. For treating a moderately affected leg the cost for two treatments would be $2,800 with a Medicare rebate of $320. For two moderately affected legs, four treatments would be required costing $5,600 with an approximate Medicare rebate of $1,900. Varicose veins are a medical problem and thus sclerotherapy treatment is partially covered by Medicare.
Endovenous Laser in combination with Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy
Always performed as a combined treatment, for one leg only (two visits on consecutive days) the total cost is $6,000 with a Medicare rebate of approximately $1,900. All follow up appointments and aftercare for this procedure over the following year are bulk-billed, even if further injections need to be given as a top-up.
At the time of your consultation (covered by Medicare), you will be given a more accurate idea of the total cost of your treatments. Keep in mind that you will most likely need to undergo ultrasound mapping so the extent of your vein problem can be established before a realistic cost is outlined. The mapping also determines if you are suitable for laser or ultrasound guided sclerotherapy which impacts on the costing quote.
Cosmetic treatments also available
We also offer a range of cosmetic treatments with Dr Jeremy Cumpston including cosmetic injectables and skin rejuvenation, ensuring that our patients have access to a comprehensive array of options.
Whether you are seeking to smoothen wrinkles, add volume to specific facial areas, or revitalise your skin’s radiance, our state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge techniques are designed to deliver exceptional results in a safe and comfortable environment.