Myths and Truths

Leg discomfort is a natural result of ageing.

Pain, heaviness or tiredness in the legs can occur at any age. Venous problems,however, that have been left untreated will progressively get worse, as veins are in constant battle against two very powerful foes: gravity and time. Every patient experiencing leg discomfort should consult a vascular surgeon.

Venous disorders are not particularly important or dangerous.

Venous disorders are a major health issue. For example, according to the American College of Phlebology, more than 80 million Americans suffer from varicose and spider veins. The burden to any country's health system, due to disabilities caused by vein disorders, is inestimable. It is estimated that more than 4.6 million work days are lost every year in the United States.
The heaviest load falls on those suffering from venous insufficiency and their families:
-Patients with varicose veins and venous insufficiency run the risk of thrombosis, phlebitis and pulmonary embolism. These are life threatening conditions.
-Pain and oedema in the lower limbs cause major discomfort and they are very likely to interfere with daily life and have a negative influence on its quality.
-Venous insufficiency appears to have increased in frequency in the last years, especially in women, a fact which is associated with the reduction of time devoted to walking and doing sports and with an increase in a sedentary lifestyle.
-Venous insufficiency may lead to the development of skin ulcers, especially in the tibia, which are extremely difficult to treat.
-Venous insufficiency can lead to hyperpigmentation and hardening of the skin in areas with lipodermatosclerosis.
-Venous insufficiency often leads to a decrease in self-esteem and quality of life.

Venous insufficiency is, to a large degree, an under-diagnosed and under-treated condition. A large number of doctors ignore the significance of vein disorders.

The management of venous disorders is painful and may cause scarring.

Many of the older treatments were indeed painful and had a negative cosmetic result. Two examples are saphenectomy, the main surgical treatment of venous insufficiency used until recently, and sclerotherapy with the use of a hypertonic solution of sodium chloride.
Times change, however, and the once widespread open surgical restoration tends to be abandoned, with the wider acceptance of minimally invasive methods, which are painless and do not leave any marks, even in the advanced states of venous insufficiency. These techniques include, among others, the use of laser, ultrasound and other modern technologies, in addition to new and more effective drugs.

The treatment of venous disorders is often ineffective and short-lived.

A decade ago, the surgical management of varicose veins was indeed quite ineffective. It is a fact that 85-90% of patients had a recurrence of the disorder at some point of their lives.
Although it is known that venous disease cannot be radically treated, the rates are reversed when expert physicians use new techniques for the management of the disease. Instead of rates of recurrence as high as 90%, up to 90% of the patients will need no further treatment.
The same applies to spider veins. Patients with spider veins treated at present by expert physicians are able to achieve a success rate of 90%, while they may have a recurrence at a rate lower than 15% Though they might need occasional treatment, the vast majority of patients enjoys benefits for the rest of their lives.

The treatment of venous disorders might lead to new venous problems.

Unfortunately, there is an element of truth in this statement concerning the old method of open surgical restoration. This treatment tended to lead to future venous problems and it was not uncommon to hear patients say: "I had surgery for my veins, but they reappeared.
The modern, least invasive, venous surgery tackles the root cause of the trouble. The pathological veins are permanently removed.

The operations for the correction of venous insufficiency are exhausting for the patient and have a long convalescence period.

This used to be true. The old surgical procedure for the correction of varicose veins required the administration of general anesthesia and it could take weeks before the patients could return to their everyday activities. Modern techniques are performed under local anesthesia, with or without the use of light sedation. Patients are able to walk right after the operation, do not feel any pain and are discharged a few hours after the end of the operation. They can go back to work after a few days and to their everyday activities even the day after the operation.

The operations for the repair of venous insufficiency are very expensive.

The treatment of varicose veins with the Endoluminal Venous Laser Ablation (EVLT) procedure is minimally evasive and, as it is followed by a very brief hospital stay, drastically reduces hospital fees. The cost of the laser fiber used in the procedure is covered by EOPYY (Greek National Organization for the Provision of Health Services) and, as a result, the operation's costs have been greatly reduced. Even though the total cost is individually calculated depending on the magnitude of the patient's problem, it remains low anyhow.
Every session for the management of spider veins is charged separately and the total cost is determined by the magnitude of the problem and the total number of sessions. In any case, it is reasonably priced.

The treatment of venous disorders for cosmetic reasons is only a matter of vanity.

Venous disorders have a major impact to a person's physical appearance. Even if they are not accompanied by symptoms, they have a particularly negative effect to the patients' self-confidence and quality of life. Several women adjust their wardrobe accordingly and even avoid wearing skirts, due to their legs' appearance, while they feel at a disadvantage when going to the beach, to th-e pool or to other places where they have to expose their legs to public view.
When the cosmetic part of the problem is managed with modern procedures, which combine treatment with an excellent cosmetic result, the patient has a gain in confidence and a dramatically improved quality of life.

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