Varicose vein treatments less intrusive

A new technique for treating varicose veins has recently been approved in the UK which is less intrusive than the majority of treatments.

Most solutions which are available on the NHS for eliminating the visible, blue veins involve surgical procedures with lengthy recovery times.

However, the new technique, ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy, takes just half an hour and results in rapid recovery.

Philip Coleridge Smith, vascular surgeon at the British Vein Institute, told the Express that some of the valves in the leg veins stop working properly, causing blood to build up and resulting in the swelling of surface veins.

"Nobody quite understands why the valves in the veins fail," said Mr Coleridge Smith.

"We do know that you are more likely to suffer from varicose veins if you spend a lot of time standing up, are obese or have a family history of varicose veins."

Existing methods of sclerotherapy, in which drugs are injected to dissolve the lining of the vein, are often ineffective as the liquid can spread away from the affected area.

"Because [the new technique] is a foam version of normal sclerotherapy drugs, it doesn't escape from the area into which you inject it," the surgeon explained.

"The ultrasound means we can also use it in all the areas where it is needed, not just the bits of the veins that are swollen; we can see it working and make sure that it has worked properly."

The technique has now been approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), meaning that it is available on the NHS.

However, waiting lists for non-emergency treatments can be lengthy and many people opt to seek private treatment for their varicose veins, especially as the majority of less-intrusive solutions, such as laser and radio-wave treatments, are only available in private clinics.

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