Why treat varicose veins? Varicose veins were once thought to be “only cosmetic” – but this is wrong. Studies show varicose veins deteriorate in stages:
Each year, 1 in 20 people at any of these stages will deteriorate to the next worst stage.
1 in 10 people have visible varicose veins, and the same number again have “hidden varicose veins”. Hidden varicose veins can cause ankle swelling, red and brown stains, and leg ulcers – without any visible surface varicose veins. This is explained in the book “Understanding Venous Reflux: The Cause of Varicose Veins and Venous Leg Ulcers.”
If varicose veins or hidden varicose veins are treated properly, the deterioration reverses.
In the past doctors thought that varicose veins came from only 2 veins – the Great and Small Saphenous Veins (previously called “Long” and “Short” Saphenous Veins).
However, The Whiteley Clinic research has shown that there are over 150 different veins on each side that can be involved. These include accessory saphenous veins, above and below knee perforators and pelvic veins.
A common cause of recurrence after treatment is that the original scan was inadequate and significant veins were not identified nor treated.
Duplex scanning should be done by expert vascular technologists. When a doctor does their own scan, they can miss 30% of these other veins. Hence NICE guidelines say varicose veins should be treated by a team – not a doctor by themselves.
Once the problem veins have been identified, the optimal treatment for each can be selected.
Such treatments include Echotherapy (SONOVEIN® – exclusive to The Whiteley Clinic in the UK), endovenous microwave, endovenous laser, TRLOP, and pelvic embolisation. Foam sclerotherapy is useful in small veins but has poor results in big veins.
There are other endovenous treatments such as radiofrequency ablation, mechanochemical ablation, glue and stripping, but each of these have draw-backs and so are rarely or never used now in The Whiteley Protocol®.
Each individual patient has their own pattern of venous disease. Not surprisingly the old “standard approach” to varicose vein surgery – concentrating on just 2 main veins – gives poor long-term results, even if the new techniques are used.
The Whiteley Protocol® allows us to tailor combinations of treatments aimed specifically at each individual pattern of venous disease. Our 15-year audit has proven treatment by The Whiteley Clinic to have the lowest possible risk of recurrence.