What can go wrong?

Varicose vein Treatments are known to be exceptionally safe. However, the following problems have been documented:

• Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is the most undesirable result. In the leg it is not dangerous, but when pumped by the heart into the lungs it can cause Venothrombo-Embolism (VTE) or Pulmonary-Embolism (PE). Reduce this risk by avoiding bed rest post-operatively and by walking immediately after the treatment.

• The Varicose Veins may not be fully cleared after one treatment. This is because silent varicosities only become evident once the main offenders are closed.

• New varicose veins remain a possibility. There is no definite limit to the number of treatments you can undergo.

• Small nerves that supply your ankle and heel with sensation lie right next to the varicose vein acquiring treatment. A treated vein may “stun” a small nerve resulting in a loss of sensation to parts of your foot or calf.

• Infection is always a possibility, but not at all common. The risk of contracting the “super bug” is reduced by operating outside the formal hospital sector.

• The complication of pigmentation has been reduced with the use of compression stockings, massage therapy and post-operative drainage of any remaining haematomas.

• In unusual cases of sclerotherapy, thread-like veins can come across as worse before getting better.

• Ulcers can complicate sclerotheraphy or infection.

• Skin discoloration is a result of the skin type of the patient, as opposed to the actual treatment itself. It is more common in olive Mediterranean skin and park skin pigmentation. Adequate care in the post-op phase has almost eliminated this complication.

• Extensive Varicose Vein treatment can result in pain and discomfort for 1-3 weeks. The strict use of compression stockings reduces this, but week 2 of post-op is often the most sensitive.

• Blood clots in the deep circulation (DVT) are extremely rare, occurring in patients who have thrombophilia. Blood tests can be conducted to detect this problem.

What can I expect at the initial consultation?

1. Report any family history of blood clots.

2. Disclose medical conditions (Cancer, Hormone Replacement, etc.)

3. Avoid general anaesthetic.

4. Compression stockings.

5. Walk frequently and immediately after surgery.

6. User anti-clotting drugs.

7. Take ½ Aspirin before surgery.

8. Avoid sitting and standing for long periods as well as long periods of no leg movement.

9. Stay well hydrated.

10. Do pre-op blood tests to check for clotting disorders (Only reliable about 50% of the time).

Is treatment painful?

Thankfully, the treatment is not painful. We make use of a regional anaesthetic and procedural sedation. This combination is the safest, with post-operative possible discomfort limited to two weeks and no pain associated with smaller treatments. Our patients report the use of minimal painkillers, and the most uncomfortable aspect is wearing compression stockings.

Will I be able to walk or go to work afterwards?

Yes. We insist that you walk a total of 2-3 kilometres a day divided into two or three sessions. This will speed up the healing process, open deep circulation and prevent blood clots from forming. Strenuous gym workouts and weightlifting is discouraged for the first two weeks after treatment.

Will my medical aid pay?

Yes. The vast majority of medical aids will pay all or part of your treatment.

>> Read more about Medical Aid Payments.

Are there any guarantees?

Due to the chronic nature of varicose veins and the unpredictable response of each patient, it is essential to discuss guarantees with caution. While the vast majority of patients show improvement, the final result is dependent on the healing process of the individual.

How should I decide whether to have the treatment?

• A history of deep vein thrombosis, venothrombo-embolism (DVT, VTE) or bloods clots is a strong indication to reduce risk of future clots by optimising venous return.

• Symptoms of pain, discomfort, “restless legs”, cramps, heaviness and skin changes (itchy, dry, flaking, hardening) and ulceration are all indications for therapy.

• Unsightly appearance.

• Repeat varicose veins after previous treatment.

•Severe varicose veins during pregnancy, possibly preventing normal birth.

• Early age onset of large varicose veins.

• Spontaneous rupture of a superficial vein or a significant bleed from a vein.

• Inflammation or superficial clots of varicose veins (thrombophlebitis).

How is varicose vein surgery regulated?

Phlebology is a speciality registered in the USA. At present, the largest international umbrella organisation for Varicose Veins practices is the American College of Phlebology (ACP) of which Dr Gibson is a member in good standing. This organisation provides training, workshops and regular updates to phelobologists.

Must I see Dr Gibson before having a treatment?

This is preferable in evaluating, diagnosing and planning a treatment. Alternatively, photographs can be sent via cell phone or email. A vascular venous sonar report from your local radiologist is required.

Is there any follow-up?

If extensive work has been done, a follow-up is vital. The tightening and hardening of the veins can be alleviated with message and physiotherapy. We offer this massage in-house from three weeks post-operation for one to three sessions. Over a six to twelve week period we ‘touch up’ any remaining stubborn veins.

What about blue feet and hands?

Abnormal veins can successfully be treated in both your hands and feet. In the case of feet, it may be necessary to address deep varicose veins as part of the treatment.

Small veins around my nose and cheeks?

These small veins respond very well to coagulation therapy. Facial veins tend to regrow and more than one treatment in a lifetime is to be expected.

Is treatment suitable if I have other conditions?

Treatment anaesthesia will be modified to accommodate any medical condition. Indeed, medically high risk cases are preferably taken on by our practice. Dr Gibson is highly qualified in both additional anaesthetic and pain relief.

Is treatment suitable if I have other conditions?

Treatment anaesthesia will be modified to accommodate any medical condition. Indeed, medically high risk cases are preferably taken on by our practice. Dr Gibson is highly qualified in both additional anaesthetic and pain relief.

Can you treat very bad veins?

It may be necessary to divide treatments into two or three sessions, but the size and severity of the veins does not prohibit treatment.

How soon after treatment can I expect results?

Healing occurs from 3-25 weeks. This is dependent on your body, the use of compression stockings, and the use of massage therapy post-operatively.

What can I expect at the initial consultation?

At your initial consultation, you will be required to disclose any medically relevant information regarding your health, medication, drug use. Please bring any form of reports, x-rays or sonars with you. Dr Gibson will record, ultrasound and photograph your veins, as well as present you with an explanation and treatment plan.