DON’T BE SO VEIN
Suffering from spider or varicose veins? Dr John Tan of The Vein Clinic and Surgery explains what they are, and the various methods of dealing with them.
Spider veins and varicose veins aren’t pretty. The former are little clusters of pink and purple threads that appear on the legs, while the latter are bulgy, knotty masses usually seen on the calves. Both are the result of veins becoming weak due to age, hormones, obesity, pregnancy, prolonged sitting/ standing, or genetic factors.
Neither spider veins nor varicose veins will go away without treatment. And they’re not just unsightly: They can cause pain, cramps and aching, which is why Dr John Tan, a consultant vascular surgeon and founder of The Vein Clinic and Surgery, says they really should be treated.
Tackling the issue
“There are a number of different methods to address spider and varicose veins,” says Dr Tan. “Your doctor should rst perform an ultrasound scan so he can see the extent of the problem, and determine the best course of action.”
A common approach for spider veins is sclerotherapy, where a chemical is injected into the veins to seal them off. For larger veins, it is injected in the form of foam. “The treatment is effective, although the veins can recur, particularly if you get pregnant,” says Dr Tan.
For varicose veins, there are several treatments. One is Endovenous Laser Treatment (ELT), where a laser is used to heat and collapse the vein walls. Another is VNUS Closure, where radio frequencies are used to eliminate veins instead. Patients do not need sedation, and require only local anaesthetic in the specic area to be treated. Each treatment is straightforward, with little or no lasting side effects. “Treatment takes around an hour. Patients can usually walk immediately afterwards, and are left with no scars once the needle marks have healed,” he says.
Another alternative treatment is Venaseal. “This uses medical-grade ‘superglue’ to close and seal the veins,” says Dr Tan. As it does not involve heat like ELT or VNUS Closure, no anaesthesia is required.