Varicose Veins: We Review The Latest Treatment

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  • Nothing mars legs like varicose veins. This revolutionary treatment promises to remove unsightly squiggles… forever.

    They can pop up at any time, but knobbly varicose veins lodged under the knees are mainly passed on in your genes from your parents. Varicose veins are uncomfortable and ubiquitous – it’s estimated that over a third of both women and men in this country suffer from them.

    Most people turn to dermatologists for sclerotherapy – a few saline-like injections – but to no real effect. For this particular beauty blight, you can forget dermatologists, you need a vascular surgeon who specialises in venous disease.

    Vein specialist Professor Mark Whiteley, quite rightly, says, ‘Never listen to anyone telling you anything about your veins unless they have the results from a duplex ultrasound in their hand or the treatment they recommend could make them worse.’

    With that in mind we headed off to review the latest varicose vein treatment: Subfascial endoscopic perforating vein surgery…

    It’s the procedure that has transformed a field once dominated by the highly aggressive business of vein-stripping. ‘Stripping just makes your veins think they’ve been damaged and grow back even worse,’ explains Whiteley. ‘Our research has shown that if you do strip a vein out and tie it off, when you go back to get them scanned five years later, 82 per cent of people see the same vein growing back again.’

    After 15 years of research Whiteley refuses to strip the vein but instead seals them inside the body in such a way that tricks the body into removing the vein itself. Heating the vein with laser, radiofrequency, or other devices, shrivels the veins away and then the body eats them up like a foreign body, never to be seen again. So, unlike any other treatment for veins the first time they are treated they are gone for good.

    The procedure starts with a test to ensure the deep venous system is fully functional. Then guided by ultrasound the specialist vascular technologist marks up the leg for treatment. Then it all begins – you lie on an operating table on your back. You feel pricked and a little prodded but otherwise the local anesthetic does the trick.

    Anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour-and-a-half later you ease yourself off the table. If you have really terrible veins, one leg is done at a time. Your legs will be wrapped like a mummy’s from groin to ankle due to the compression tights. Then you’re told to go home, keep them on overnight after surgery and take aspirin if at all necessary. The bruises will fade completely within two weeks and the cuts are so minute they will be very hard to see.

    Consultation with venous & PPG ultrasound scan: £795
    Subfascial endoscopic perforating vein surgery (SEPS) Bilateral: £1806
    Total: £2,601

    Where: The Whiteley Clinic, One Chapel Place, London, W1G 0BG T: 020 3757 7180

    5 ways you can de-bloat your legs at home:

    1. Kidneys eliminate waste and the excess fluid that has accumulated. Help to reduce puffiness by drinking fresh lemon in warm water every morning, eat parsley and watermelon and avoid salt. Vitabiotics WellWoman Inner Cleanse, £9.15 for one month supply, helps the body detox and purify.

    2. Massage helps to get rid of leg swelling too. Try these four pressure points: Press the middle of the depression in the back of the knee, in the lower half of the depression above calf muscle, in the middle of calf muscle and the lower part of calf muscle. Repeat ten times.

    3. Raising legs above your heart prevents blood accumulation and swelling. ‘Legs and thighs are the lowest points on the body so fluid tends to accumulate at the lowest points,’ says Margo Marrone, co-founder of The Organic Pharmacy. ‘Putting the feet up and sleeping with a pillow under your feet will help but ultimately movement, a body massager and dry skin brushing get the circulation going.’

    4. Clarins Contour Body Treatment Oil, £39 for 100ml, and The Organic Pharmacy Resculpting Body Gel, £94.95 for 200ml, both work to streamline the skin by being massaged from ankle to thigh, stimulating the blood and helping flush away excess fluid and toxin build up.

    5. ‘Skin-brushing is brilliant to get the circulation going and adding a few drops of juniper and rosemary oil onto the brush will boost it even more,” says Marrone. “Do it daily and you will see a difference in just two weeks.” Try The Organic Pharmacy’s Skin Brush, £7.95. 

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