Varicose veins are distended tributaries or ‘branches’ of the major veins in the leg. They are normally seen as bulging veins on the legs.
One of the problems of medicine is that both medical professionals and patients tend to talk about things that they see rather than what the actual problem is.
Varicose veins are bulging veins often causing the skin to bulge on the legs when sitting or standing. On lying down, the bulges tend to recede or disappear.
Because these bulges are obvious, over thousands of years medical professionals and patients focused on the bulges as the problem, calling them ‘varicose veins’.
However what has become known over the last hundred years or so is that these veins only appear because of the veins deeper inside the leg lose essential valves, allowing blood to flow the wrong way down the veins. Therefore any treatment that is directed solely at the varicose veins seen on the surface, without full investigation and treatment of the underlying cause, is bound to fail.
This has become very important as doctors and nurses have traditionally been told that there are only two main veins that cause varicose veins. These are called the great saphenous vein (GSV) and the small saphenous vein (SSV). Up until 2001 in Europe and 2004 in America, these were called the long saphenous vein (LSV) and short saphenous vein (SSV). However by international agreement, these older names have now been superseded and anyone using these terms is very out of date.
Research performed at The Whiteley Clinic that has been published in multiple peer-reviewed medical journals has shown that this simplistic view of the underlying cause of varicose veins is erroneous in the vast majority of patients.
Varicose veins not only arise from valves failing in the great saphenous vein and the small saphenous vein, but also in the anterior accessory saphenous vein, incompetent perforating veins, abnormal second great saphenous veins and small saphenous veins and pelvic varicose veins. Indeed, research from The Whiteley Clinic shows quite clearly that patients with only problems in the great saphenous vein and / or small saphenous vein causing their varicose veins are the minority.
This is a great problem as there has been a trend for cheap varicose vein clinics where doctors ‘perform their own scans’ to try to keep prices down. This is a false economy as it has been shown that quick scans performed by doctors who solely check the main veins miss at least 30% of the underlying problems causing the varicose veins.
Regardless as to whether the doctor can then perform the right treatment using the right technique, if they don’t have the correct diagnosis from a detailed scan in the first place, they are unlikely to perform a complete treatment meaning the risk of veins coming back again will be high. Of course they will not actually be coming back again as they will have been missed in the first place!
Thus as with many things in life, and medicine in particular, there are risks associated with ‘buying cheap’. Cutting corners to reduce costs often means a reduction in standards of investigation or treatment. Of all the areas of life that this might be acceptable, those of us working at The Whiteley Clinic strongly believes that health is not one of them.
As such, at The Whiteley Clinic, we work strictly to The Whiteley Protocol® which ensures that all of the investigations are performed by independent specialists who do nothing but duplex examination and when it comes to treatment, we only use the best branded equipment which we have performed independent research on to prove the efficacy.