Varicose veins treatment - without cuts, scars and hospitalisation with 21st century technologies
Do you feel your legs heavy, discomfortable and swollen? Do you have muscle cramps? Or skin pigmentation around the ankles? Have you noticed bulging veins or widened capillaries on your legs? If the answer on one of these questions is yes, then you most probably suffer from chronic venous insufficiency whose main manifestation are the so-called varicose veins. This is one of the most common diseases in the industrialised world, and yet patients and medical professionals undeservedly neglect it.
Varix Clinic, the biggest specialised clinic in Bulgaria for minimally invasive treatment of varicose veins offers high-quality medical services. The clinic specialises in diagnosis, treatment and prophylaxis of venous diseases with minimally invasive treatment methods in accordance to the European and international medical standards. Its founder, Dr Angel Radev, shares more about the mission to give the best to his patients and about the benefits of the most advanced medical technologies of the 21st century.
Dr Angel Radev is a specialist in vascular medicine and minimally invasive treatment of venous diseases, and an MA in health management. He has specialised in the USA, Australia and Germany. In 2020, Dr Radev was nominated in the 40 to 40 project by Darik Radio in the Medicine category.
What does contemporary treatment of varicose veins look like?
The rapid development of modern technologies affected positively varicose veins treatment. Nowadays treatment of varicose veins does not mean a necessity of a surgery. because in the past two decades bloodless treatment methods spurred a revolution that totally changed the field. Minimally invasive methods (better known as bloodless) use a small puncture of 2-3 mm wide in the leg. Through it, a special laser or radiofrequency catheter is introduced and used to vaporise the vein. The method does not leave any disfiguring cuts and scars, does not require a general or spinal anesthesia and hospitalisation, causes minimal pain and discomfort. This type of treatment uses the so-called tumescent anesthesia in which the patient does not lose consciousness. Some methods do not require even this type of anesthesia. Another minimally invasive method is ultrasound guided sclerotherapy. In it a needle is used to inject a sclerosant solution into the abnormal vein to glue the damaged venal wall. The development of phlebology, the field in medicine that focuses on venal diseases, is very dynamic. Established methods are constantly improved and new ones are introduced.
Why is it important to apply new treatment methods?
Not every new treatment method is always better than older ones. But bloodless methods for treatment of varicose veins have many proven benefits over old-school surgical treatment, like lack of surgical cuts, stitching, and scars, and no need of general or spinal anesthesia. They have much lower risk of developing serious post surgery complications and infections and achieve better long-term results, with minimised reappearance of varicose veins. A big advantage is also the lack of hospitalisation and the short recovery period. Most patients can go back to work on the next day. Traditional surgery can help about 5-10% of patients. For the other 90-95% minimally invasive treatment is the international golden standard.
What are varicose veins and how do they appear?
It is believed that the damage is caused by inflammation of the venal walls and valves. Genetic predisposition to weak connective tissue of the venal wall is the main factor for its appearance. Additional factors include spending long hours sitting or standing, old age, exposure to high temperatures, hormonal medicines, pregnancy, obesity, smoking, wearing too tight clothes and others.
The most visible symptom is the appearance of bulging veins under the skin or of expanded capillaries. Other symptoms include muscle cramps, pain, swelling, and feel of heaviness in the legs, burning and itching sensation in the legs' skin. In more advanced stages appear chronic skin changes such as pigmentation around the ankles and sores that are hard to heal, most often on the ankle's inner side.
What complications might appear if the patient neglects such a condition?
Untreated varicose veins can cause chronic skin changes, hard to heal sores, and thrombophlebitis, which is an inflammation and blockage of veins that can cause venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. This is why I recommend people who suffer from varicose veins to consult in time with a specialist in vascular diseases who is also qualified in treatment of venous diseases.
What are the most common mistakes people with varicose veins do?
They postpone dealing with the problem due to fear of surgery. They think that ointments and pills will do. In reality, conservative treatment can only alleviate the symptoms. Varicose veins should be removed with either traditional or minimally invasive intervention. Many people believe they are a cosmetic problem and think that surgery is pointless as veins will reappear. Yes, there is no 100% warranty that varicose veins will not reappear. But leaving them untreated is the same as refusing to treat a caries as another one may appear on another tooth.
What would you recommend to patients with varicose veins in the summer?
Use cooling gels for veins 2-3 times a day in a combination with venotonic medicines. The water of the sea and of cool swimming pools will benefit the venous system. Do not stay for long under the sun, drink 2-3 litres of water per day, apply sunscreen and avoid saunas and steam baths.
What would you advise people with varicose veins?
There is no one universal and optimal treatment method that works for all. The best result is achieved with combining different therapeutic techniques after a detailed examination and individual evaluation of each case. Seek a timely solution to the problem. I want to remind that nowadays varicose veins do not mean that a surgery is obligatorily needed.
What motivated you to found Varix Clinic?
I wanted to create a place where patients are treated in accordance to the latest standards of phlebology, as so many of them are incorrectly treated. We successfully created a clinic where patients enter without fear. We are motivated by the gratitude we see in patients who leave Varix Clinic with a smile on their face. Most of them have difficulties believing how easy the treatment is. At the end, our main goal is to offer the quality that our patients need.
The main advantages of minimally invasive methods in comparison to surgery
- no surgery cuts and stitches
- no scars
- no need of general or spinal anesthesia
- the procedure can be performed in an outpatient unit
- direct visual and ultrasound control during the procedure
- no loss of blood
- can be applied in patients on anticoagulation therapy and with pacemakers
- minimal risk of infection
- less side effects and pain
- fast recovery period and preserved work capacity as soon as the day after the procedure