Now we start to talk about what’s really important: treating those varicose veins. It’s a long and complex subject and all the details can’t possibly be covered in a short space. But it is possible to give you a brief overview of what your options are. There are a lot, and they are very different from one another, but they all share the same goal: to provide the patient with the longest symptoms-free period. The best way to make sense of what is available is to divide the therapies into three groups.
- Supportive care. Many healthcare professional in many clinical situations will use the term supportive care. What does that mean? It means that whatever the patient’s problem is, you try and give care that will ease their symptoms and allow them to function in the way they want. The treatments are not intended to cure the disease, and they are not intended to prevent the disease from occurring in the first place. Here’s an example: A patient with a fever from pneumonia will be burning up a lot of their body water and dehydration contributes a great deal to how poorly they feel. Giving the patient IV fluids will prevent/treat dehydration and make them feel better, but it won’t cure the pneumonia. When it comes to varicose vein there are several ways of providing supportive care, and they can be very effective, but they demand that the patient plays an active role in their own care.
- Medical care. Here is where your options really begin to multiply. Surgeons and dermatologists have developed many treatments for varicose veins, some invasive, some not, but they all seem to be very effective. What’s more, many of them don’t require much preparation, they can be done quickly and the recovery time is minimal. No one really keeps track of how many patients choose medical treatment over supportive care and surgery, but it is safe to say that the new techniques are very safe and very popular.
- Surgical care. No one is too thrilled to have surgery. It usually means preparation, the time spent having the operation and the time needed to recover. You might ask, given these disadvantages, why anyone would choose surgery over supportive care or medical care. The answer is that some patients have tried supportive care and/or medical care and those methods didn’t work. It might be that the disease involves veins that can only be treated with surgery. Finally, surgery for varicose veins is the technique that has been practiced the longest. The important questions – how to do it, who to use it for and what the complications are – have all been answered.