Varicose veins are a common disease

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15. November 2014

Varicose veins: other countries – other legs?

Small, but often clearly visible, reddish or bluish veins are snaking beneath the skin along the legs – these are spider veins. Unsightly to look at, they are usually more of a cosmetic problem, although in some cases they may be precursors of pronounced varicose veins. The condition, in technical jargon known as varicosis, has become a common disease. Large varicose veins can already be found in a third of the adult population and spider veins in more than 60%. Tried-and-trusted treatment with sclerotherapy allows all types of varicose veins to be removed painlessly. This minimally invasive procedure has already been established in the USA, but it is also rapidly gaining in popularity in Germany and the rest of Europe.

Attractive legs always catch the eye and can make a striking impression, especially in summer weather when miniskirts, Shorts, and swimwear are the norm. It is therefore not surprising that spider veins can have a considerable effect on a person’s self-confidence. There is hardly anyone in the world – whether in Europe, the USA, or anywhere else – who does not have vein problems of some sort at some time. In many cases, they even appear in young adults.
Sclerotherapy is regarded as the gold standard of treatment for spider veins worldwide. Until recently, stripping operations were the most frequently used treatment of trunk varicose veins. This surgical procedure involves several incisions being made in the leg to pull out the diseased veins. Although this operation has proved effective for many years, it is often painful, so efforts have been made to develop alternatives that are just as effective, but do not require any incisions.

The lowest rate of operations for trunk varicose veins is to be found in the USA, where most interventions these days are non-surgical. Sclerotherapy is also a popular and frequently performed method of eliminating varicose veins in the USA. In Germany and the rest of Europe, surgery is still the preferred treatment for large varicose veins. However, the minimally invasive alternatives, especially sclerotherapy, are becoming more and more popular. The commitment of 23 European phlebology associations is involved in this change. Together, they drew up and issued a European guideline for sclerotherapy. This guideline took into consideration numerous scientific findings on the effectiveness of sclerotherapy, which experts in many countries are already recommending as a good alternative to surgery for varicose veins of all sizes.


Author: Sophia Post