VARICOSE VEINS - MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE SOLICITORS
If you have been injured by a healthcare professional including a doctor, dentist, nurse or technician and would like to speak to a medical negligence lawyer without further obligation, just use the helpline. A varicose vein medical negligence lawyer who deals exclusively in personal injury claims will speak to you, giving free advice and information on how best to preserve your legal right to receive compensation as a result of injuries caused by medical negligence.
Our varicose vein medical negligence lawyers have solicitors offices situated in Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin.
Varicose Vein Surgery
Varicose veins can be treated without surgery but if the varicose vein lifestyle changes don’t work, then surgery is recommended. There are several types of varicose vein surgery to consider. The goals of these procedures are to prevent complications of the disease, improve appearance and relieve current symptoms. The main procedures used to treat varicose veins include the following:
- Sclerotherapy: This is a procedure that uses a liquid chemical irritant that, when applied, closes off the varicose vein. This chemical is injected into the varicose vein and acts as an irritant. The vein scars, closes off and fades away. Doctors can do small veins in the office, while larger veins are done in the hospital operating room. Treatments can be done as often as every 4-6 weeks apart.
- Microsclerotherapy: This is a good treatment for spider veins and related smaller veins. A very fine needle is used to inject the scleral chemical, resulting in the ability for large patches of spider veins to be treated.
- Laser therapy: This uses energy from a laser machine and applies it to a varicose vein. The vein fades away from the laser light application. It is mainly helpful in treating small varicose veins.
- Endovenous ablation therapy: This uses radio waves or lasers to create a form of heat that closes off the offending vein. The doctor inserts a tiny catheter into the vein. It is the catheter that heats up, obliterating the vein. The patient is awake during the procedure but there is local anaesthesia around the vein.
- Endoscopic vein surgery: the surgeon makes a cut in the skin in the vicinity of the varicose vein. An endoscope with a camera moves through the vein. The vein is closed off with a device located at the end of the endoscopy camera. It is reserved for severe cases in which the varicose vein is associated with ulceration of the skin.
- Ambulatory Phlebectomy: Cuts are made in the skin near varicose veins and small veins are pulled out of the skin. There is local anaesthesia applied to the affected areas but the patient remains awake.
- Vein stripping and ligation: This is used for severe case of varicose veins. Each vein is located, tied off and ligated. The end of the surgery involves multiple small incisions on the skin. You will have this procedure done under general anaesthesia. It takes about 1-4 weeks to recover from this procedure even though it is done under a general anaesthesia.
There are several different complications from varicose vein removing procedures. A study was done of 973 limbs in 599 patients between 1985 and 1993. The patients were mainly female at a ratio of 2:1. The average age of the patient was 49 years. The patients were primarily treated by a vascular surgeon.
No one died following varicose vein surgery. Wound complications included a haematoma at the affected site, cellulitis and abscess. These wound complications occurred in around 2.8 percent of limbs. There were occasionally neurological complications at a rate of 6.6 percent. Leakage of groin lymph fluid happened in 5 patients. Each of these patients had had an exploratory surgery of the groin to look for reoccurrence of vein problems. The major complications included 3 cases of deep vein thrombosis, one pulmonary embolism, and one case of foot drop. In one case, a common femoral vein was injured and received a vein patch surgery. Major complications occurred slightly less than one percent. Minor complications happened to 17 percent of patients. Patients who had large varicose vein repair had a slightly greater degree of complications than those patients who were having small varicose veins repaired.
Varicose Veins Overview
Varicose veins are swollen, painful and twisted veins, usually in the legs or groin that are overfilled with blood and dilated beyond their regular size. In normal veins, there are valves that help blood propel forward toward the central circulatory system. If the valves are leaky, then there is swelling of the vein and pooling of blood in the vein. The vein enlarges and becomes ropy and visible to the naked eye.
Varicose veins are fairly common in women but can occur in men as well. They usually occur in the legs but can occur in the female vulva or in other body areas. The causes include pregnancy, thrombophlebitis (inflammation of the vein), and defective valves in the body that are usually congenitally defective. If you have to stand for long periods of time or have increased abdominal pressure, you can get varicose veins more likely. It is called primary varicose veins if the cause is due to congenitally damaged valves. It is called secondary varicose veins if pregnancy or obesity lead to varicose veins.
Symptoms of varicose veins include a fullness, heaviness, aching or strong pain in the varicose vein area, swelling of the ankles, visibly enlarged veins, brown discolouration or rash at the ankles and ulceration of the ankles if the condition is severe.
Diagnosis of varicose veins is usually a visual diagnosis. They can be seen and felt during a physical examination of the legs or vulva. A Duplex ultrasound of the legs can show the pattern of blood flow within the veins and can differentiate between a low flow condition and a blood clot. In rare conditions, an angiogram of the vessels can show what is going on inside the veins.
The treatment can be conservative or more aggressive. Conservative management includes not being on your feet much, wearing elastic stockings to protect the veins and raising your legs when in a recumbent position. You may need surgery or nonsurgical treatment of the varicose veins if they are severe enough and don't respond to conservative management. If you have a great deal of leg pain or skin ulcers, you may need surgical or nonsurgical treatment. There is a condition of lipodermatosclerosis in which fatty tissue forms under the skin and hardens due to the elevated pressure within the veins. This needs more aggressive management than milder disease.
Vein stripping is generally the surgical method of taking care of varicose veins. It is used in patients with ulcers or a great deal of pain. The vein stripping involves removal of the large superficial saphenous vein in the leg. It is done under general or spinal anaesthesia. Cuts are made in the skin, one at the bottom of the damaged vein and one at the top of the vein near the groin area. The surgeon will thread a flexible wire into the vein through the groin and will exit the wire at the level of the lower incision. The wire is then pulled through the lower aspect of the vein, taking the rest of the vein out with it. The wire is hooked onto the upper part of the vein to facilitate this process. Smaller veins can be removed in this fashion as well. Other veins can be isolated and tied off at both ends without actual removal of the vein. The incisions are closed with suture material.
Doctors are doing fewer vein stripping procedures because there are newer and nonsurgical methods of treating varicose veins. Non-surgical methods of treating varicose veins can be done in a doctor's office and require only local anaesthesia.
One common method is called sclerotherapy. A chemical solution or saltwater is injected into the vein causing the blood to clot and the varicose vein to collapse, harden and disappear. Another method is called radiofrequency ablation. Still another is endovenous laser ablation. Both methods rely on intense heat in order to treat the varicose vein.
The vein is punctured and ultrasound is used to guide the puncturing of the vein. A catheter is threaded into the vein and the vein is numbed. Treatments are used to heat up the vein and clot the blood. The varicose vein disappears.
Medical Negligence Solicitors
Our personal injury solicitors operate a specialist medical negligence compensation service. Our Varicose Veins solicitors deal with claims using a no win no fee arrangement which means that if you don't win then you don't pay them their professional costs. If you would like legal advice at no cost with no further obligation just complete the contact form or email our lawyers offices or use the helpline and a Varicose Veins solicitor will review your medical negligence compensation claim and phone you immediately.
HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 634
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here