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Help! Really bad Varicose Veins

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Natalyn
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Sun Oct 24, 2010 9:11 pm      Reply with quote
Hi, my friend has really bad varicose veins.

Here're pics of her varicose veins:
http://s1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc463/natalyn1/

Are they dangerous if left untreated? She said she had them for 20 years now, but they did not use to be this big.

What can she do to get rid of them? I took her to a laser vein removal doctor, but he said they are too big for laser.

Has anyone ever had to treat varicose veins this big successfully?
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Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:53 am      Reply with quote
Varicose veins will likely get bigger if left untreated and can cause more problems down the road like changes/problems in the skin. Also since they caused by a circulatory problem I think its definitely worth seeing a dr about it.

Your friend should see a venous dr who will give her unltrasound to determine the main cause of the problem and treat that. Any dr who only treats the visible veins is not treating the root cause and is only treating cosmetically.
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Mon Oct 25, 2010 10:40 am      Reply with quote
hey natalyn, I looked at the pics of your friend's legs. I'm no doctor, but I'm guessing if your friend wants to deal with those veins she may be best seeing a vein specialist, phlebologist I believe they're called...

I tend to get spider veins in my legs and like to keep them looking perfect, so I've had schlerotherapy many times with different doctors. I've also had the ultrasound thingie that girliegirl mentioned.

Just looking at the pics, your friend *may* need vein stripping. Looks more than schlerotherapy could deal with and, as you've already been advised, not suitable for laser.
Natalyn
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Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:59 am      Reply with quote
Thanks, Girliegirl and Appletini. Is the schlerotherapy expensive? My friend does not have health insurance.
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Mon Oct 25, 2010 1:09 pm      Reply with quote
If the underlying vein(s) that is causing the problem is not taken care of, more varicose veins will arise. This can only be determined with an ultrasound.

IME, in her case, schlerotherapy would only resolve this cosmetically/temporarily. I wouldn't spend any money on that until the root cause is determined and taken care of.
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Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:25 pm      Reply with quote
Goodness, you're right. I took more pictures of her leg this morning so I can take the camera with me to my doctor to show them to him, and the varicose veins are spreading to the area close to her ankle now.

Yikes!

Should she wear compression socks?

What about lotion or cream for varicose veins? Do they work? I found one on vitacost.

http://www.vitacost.com/Natural-Care-Vein-Gard-Cream/?pd_section=pr
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Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:50 pm      Reply with quote
Natalyn,

My dearest friend had horrid varicose veins during both her pregnancies and had to have special stocking/legging things made specifically for her. She had to put them on first thing in the morning while still lying down, before even standing. Hers did not stick with her 100% after giving birth. Her mother who had 4 kids had them and later in life had to have the stripping surgery to take care of them.

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Natalyn
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Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:14 pm      Reply with quote
thanks, darkmoon. My friend started wearing special stockings she got from a hospital after her friend had a leg surgery. Don't know if they're compression stockings, but hopefully they will help.
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Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:28 pm      Reply with quote
Natalyn wrote:
thanks, darkmoon. My friend started wearing special stockings she got from a hospital after her friend had a leg surgery. Don't know if they're compression stockings, but hopefully they will help.


I know they were expensive, in her case insurance covered them. They measured her from waist to ankles and they are made exactly for just that person. With normal body changes she had to have a new pair made for her second pregnancy.

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Wed Oct 27, 2010 6:39 pm      Reply with quote
My brother has them four times worse and they are painful for him. He also has a heart problem, so any surgery would be very risky.

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Wed Oct 27, 2010 8:17 pm      Reply with quote
Skincare wrote:
My brother has them four times worse and they are painful for him. He also has a heart problem, so any surgery would be very risky.


Sorry Skincare,

My friend also had terrible pain with hers, so bad with her second pregnancy before getting her stockings she and hubby were at a mall and she just couldn't walk anymore. He actually carried her through the mall and out to the car!

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Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:35 am      Reply with quote
That must of been hard, I'm glad that she can talk, because my brother is mentally challenged (brain damage) and he can't talk.

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Natalyn
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Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:45 pm      Reply with quote
OMG so sorry to hear about your brother, skincare, and for your friend, DM. Wow, this is a terrible disease. I wish I knew what is causing it. I tried to do research for my friend, and I don't think anyone really knows.
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Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:11 pm      Reply with quote
Natalyn wrote:
OMG so sorry to hear about your brother, skincare, and for your friend, DM. Wow, this is a terrible disease. I wish I knew what is causing it. I tried to do research for my friend, and I don't think anyone really knows.


I am sorry about your brothers situation skincare, I know near the end my father was very difficult to understand and it's so hard.

I wish I had an answer Natalyn, the only permanent solution I have heard of was surgery, stripping the veins. That has been 30+ years ago so maybe there is new technology?

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Luly
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Sat Oct 30, 2010 6:06 am      Reply with quote
Hi Natalyn,

Your friend's varicose veins seem too large for laser which is usually reserved for small varicose veins and spider veins. They also seem large for sclerotherapy but only a qualified physician can evaluate her to see if she is a good candidate for this procedure. Taking photos to a doctor is not as good as seeing the actual patient. Why isn't your friend visiting the doctor's herself? Has your friend had an ultrasound to see if the valves in her veins are patent? Does she have any symptoms like tiredness, achy legs, etc? These are all important things for a doctor to evaluate your friend. Also, due to the condition of her varicose veins, her insurance will most likely cover for her treatment.

In the meantime, to prevent them for getting worse, she should avoid standing for long periods of time and definitely wearing compressing stockings is great. Make sure she has a good fit on those. Genetics is one thing we are "blessed" with and every woman in my family has them. I wear compression stockings at least five days a week and get sclerotherapy every 2-3 years as soon as I see any sign of a vein and this has worked for me.

There are a lot of surgical procedures to correct this like vein stripping or phlebectomy and others I'm not familiar with. Have your friend get at least 2-3 different opinions before deciding on any surgical procedure. If she finds someone willing to do sclerotherapy, I would personally try it first. A friend of mine that had veins similar to your friend's, had vein stripping done and she is very pleased with her results and now wears compression hose all day.

Sorry for the long post. Hope it helps.
Luly
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Sat Oct 30, 2010 6:24 am      Reply with quote
One more thing you asked. With time, varicose veins if left untreated get bigger. However, some people never have symptoms and others do have pain, burning, swelling of the legs, itching around the veins. And the most common complications when they get really bad are skin ulcers and/or a blood clot.
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Sat Oct 30, 2010 7:14 am      Reply with quote
If I were you...
I'd get on the internet and telephone and look at different leading laser centers that speicalize in this. It can be done.
Perhaps the center you went to just wants to do spider veins. So there is help..just keep looking for a better doctor and laser center.
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Sat Oct 30, 2010 7:29 am      Reply with quote
This may be helpful information on severe varicose veins.

http://www.vnus.com/vascular-disease/varicose-veins/treatments-of-varicose-veins.aspx



For more severe cases of varicose veins, in which the veins bulge beyond the skin or cause significant pain and swelling, relief usually requires a medical intervention. The traditional surgical approach has been vein stripping, a procedure commonly requiring general anesthesia in which incisions are made near the knee and groin and the diseased primary vein is literally pulled from the body using a device. While reasonably effective, vein stripping generally produces significant post-operative pain and bruising, and usually requires a lengthy and uncomfortable recovery period.

In the United States, however, vein stripping has been rendered virtually obsolete by new, minimally invasive catheter technology that enables even severe varicose veins to be successfully treated in a doctor’s office under a local anesthetic in just a few minutes. A device is inserted into the diseased vein, where a catheter or fiber delivers either radiofrequency (RF) or laser energy to heat and seal the vessel. The technique is extremely successful and far less painful and traumatic to the patient than vein stripping.

Endovenous laser (EVL) devices utilize an optical fiber to deliver extremely high heat – over 700 degrees centigrade – that boils the blood in the vein to create a clotting effect that seals the vein as the device is withdrawn. Radiofrequency devices operate at far lower temperatures to heat and shrink the vein walls, limiting the impact on surrounding tissues and, according to a clinical study, causing significantly less pain and bruising than laser.

Physicians using the VNUS ClosureFAST™ catheter, the only radiofrequency device on the market today for the treatment of venous reflux,  report that most patients return to normal activity almost immediately following the procedure, with little or no post operative pain.

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Natalyn
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Sat Oct 30, 2010 12:32 pm      Reply with quote
Hi Luly,

My friend doesn't have a car, and no insurance. Sad I don't know if there's a doctor who will treat her pro bono. She doesn't have a lot of money. I was trying to help her. That's why I took her picture to show to my doctor. Also I helped her order the vein guard lotion and supplements. She's starting them now. She's also wearing compression socks now. That might stop them from spreading.

Thanks for helping.
Natalyn

Luly wrote:
Hi Natalyn,

Your friend's varicose veins seem too large for laser which is usually reserved for small varicose veins and spider veins. They also seem large for sclerotherapy but only a qualified physician can evaluate her to see if she is a good candidate for this procedure. Taking photos to a doctor is not as good as seeing the actual patient. Why isn't your friend visiting the doctor's herself? Has your friend had an ultrasound to see if the valves in her veins are patent? Does she have any symptoms like tiredness, achy legs, etc? These are all important things for a doctor to evaluate your friend. Also, due to the condition of her varicose veins, her insurance will most likely cover for her treatment.

In the meantime, to prevent them for getting worse, she should avoid standing for long periods of time and definitely wearing compressing stockings is great. Make sure she has a good fit on those. Genetics is one thing we are "blessed" with and every woman in my family has them. I wear compression stockings at least five days a week and get sclerotherapy every 2-3 years as soon as I see any sign of a vein and this has worked for me.

There are a lot of surgical procedures to correct this like vein stripping or phlebectomy and others I'm not familiar with. Have your friend get at least 2-3 different opinions before deciding on any surgical procedure. If she finds someone willing to do sclerotherapy, I would personally try it first. A friend of mine that had veins similar to your friend's, had vein stripping done and she is very pleased with her results and now wears compression hose all day.

Sorry for the long post. Hope it helps.
Natalyn
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Sat Oct 30, 2010 12:33 pm      Reply with quote
Thanks DM. I'll inquire about the procedure for my friend. Oh I forgot to mention she doesn't speak English.

DarkMoon wrote:
This may be helpful information on severe varicose veins.

http://www.vnus.com/vascular-disease/varicose-veins/treatments-of-varicose-veins.aspx



For more severe cases of varicose veins, in which the veins bulge beyond the skin or cause significant pain and swelling, relief usually requires a medical intervention. The traditional surgical approach has been vein stripping, a procedure commonly requiring general anesthesia in which incisions are made near the knee and groin and the diseased primary vein is literally pulled from the body using a device. While reasonably effective, vein stripping generally produces significant post-operative pain and bruising, and usually requires a lengthy and uncomfortable recovery period.

In the United States, however, vein stripping has been rendered virtually obsolete by new, minimally invasive catheter technology that enables even severe varicose veins to be successfully treated in a doctor’s office under a local anesthetic in just a few minutes. A device is inserted into the diseased vein, where a catheter or fiber delivers either radiofrequency (RF) or laser energy to heat and seal the vessel. The technique is extremely successful and far less painful and traumatic to the patient than vein stripping.

Endovenous laser (EVL) devices utilize an optical fiber to deliver extremely high heat – over 700 degrees centigrade – that boils the blood in the vein to create a clotting effect that seals the vein as the device is withdrawn. Radiofrequency devices operate at far lower temperatures to heat and shrink the vein walls, limiting the impact on surrounding tissues and, according to a clinical study, causing significantly less pain and bruising than laser.

Physicians using the VNUS ClosureFAST™ catheter, the only radiofrequency device on the market today for the treatment of venous reflux,  report that most patients return to normal activity almost immediately following the procedure, with little or no post operative pain.
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Sat Oct 30, 2010 12:46 pm      Reply with quote
Natalyn,

It's good to know they have newer less invasive procedures now.

It's so tough to be in that situation without insurance, any hope of government programs to help?
This makes me crazy the entire health care, insurance situation so many face these days! I hope you can find a doctor with a heart that will either do it pro bono or at least work out a reasonable payment program.

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Sat Oct 30, 2010 4:04 pm      Reply with quote
Hello Natalyn,
In the case of your friend, she needs to see the dr. who should also check not only how the superficial venous system is doing but (more importantly) how the deep venous system is working.
The way very varicose veins are are not dangerous per se. If they ever get "red" , warm and a bit more edema, then it could mean that they thrombosed in which case she'll have go to get them stripped.

She'll definitely benefit from compression stockings.

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Natalyn
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Sat Nov 06, 2010 1:40 pm      Reply with quote
Thanks for the info, Josee.

By the way, I have some encouraging news. I bought the veinguard cream and supplement for her to try, and also compression socks. She's been wearing the socks and massaging the cream in as well as taking the supplement for about 10 days. The veins are starting to look better, not so huge. I think if this continues, they might help keep these veins at bay.
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