At Home with Chris Jessen 2018 - 72
Hidden under our skin, we tend to take our arteries and veins for granted - until
something goes wrong. Fortunately, experts such as Rachel Bell are on hand to help
he treatments for varicose veins
and abdominal aortic aneurysms
have been revolutionised over
the past decade with the use of
increasingly sophisticated technology
and minimally invasive techniques.
Hospital stays and recovery periods
are significantly shorter, while the risk
of complications has been reduced.
Treating varicose veins
New treatments for varicose veins,
developed over the past 10 years or
so, such as radiofrequency ablation
and injection sclerotherapy, can be
undertaken in an outpatient setting as
'walk in, walk out' procedures. Each
procedure generally takes about 20
minutes to complete.
With ablation, the surgeon uses heat
to destroy the vein. Scar tissue resulting
from the heat treatment closes the vein,
so that it no longer has a 'lumen', or
fast and effective
central space. Closing the veins in this
way ends the problems associated with
varicose veins. The advantage of this
procedure over more traditional
operations that involve stripping the
vein out of the leg is that it is much
less painful and recovery is far quicker.
It is also safe and as durable as the
According to consultant vascular
surgeon Rachel Bell, successful varicose
vein surgery is based on an in-depth
consultation with the patient to discover
their concerns about their varicose
veins, a detailed ultrasound of the leg
and a bespoke treatment plan.
Perhaps surprisingly, people who
see Rachel for varicose vein treatment
tend to be young professionals who
are in their 30s and 40s.
An equal number of men and women
present, often with a family history of
the condition. Varicose veins are also
can help to relieve
common in women following pregnancy.
Women frequently seek treatment
because of the unsightly cosmetic
appearance of the veins. And while
support stockings can help to relieve
some of the symptoms, they are often
tricky to put on and uncomfortable
to wear for any length of time.
Treatment with surgery or a
minimally invasive procedure, such as
radiofrequency ablation, are the only
option to be rid of varicose veins for
good. Rarely, in some patients, veins
can reappear after a few years.
In general, varicose veins are not
dangerous and some people choose
to live with them. But if there are
symptoms of pain, throbbing, itching
and changes to the skin around the
ankle, treatment should be considered.