Other Vein Conditions

At Palm Clinic, we know that vein problems don't just mean varicose veins, spider veins, and facial veins. We also provide medical treatment for important complications of varicose veins.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

A condition where a blood clot forms in a deep leg vein, most commonly in the calf or thigh.

This can cause a partial or full blockage of the blood flow in this area. At this stage DVT is not life threatening, but it has the potential to become dangerous if complications occur. If you suspect you may have a DVT you urgently need an ultrasound of your deep veins which can be performed at Palm Clinic.  If we discover a DVT, management is with blood thinning medication to prevent extension of the blood clot.

What are the symptoms of DVT?

  • localised leg pain
  • enlargement of the superficial veins
  • skin discolouration
  • warm skin
  • swelling in the affected leg

When does DVT become dangerous?

Deep Vein Thrombosis becomes particularly dangerous if the blood clot that occurred in the deep leg vein begins to move through the body. The clot can dislodge from the leg vein and flow up to attach itself to an artery in the lung. This is called a Pulmonary Embolus and can be a life threatening condition. Symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath and coughing blood.

Who is likely to develop DVT?

Clot formation tends to occur when the blood flow is restricted in a vein. The decreased flow and poor circulation can have a number of causes. No one is immune to the risk of DVT however there are individuals who are considered "high-risk".

You may be at risk if you:

  • have had recent physical damage to a deep leg vein* (from surgery or a serious knock)
  • undergo long-haul car or plane travel (over four hours duration)
  • have heart disease*
  • have Diabetes*
  • have had a recent heart attack or stroke*
  • have other conditions such as liver disease, infections and some cancers*
  • are over 40 years of age
  • are pregnant
  • are overweight
  • are on the contraceptive pill
  • have varicose veins or a history of circulatory problems*
  • are a smoker
  • have a tendency to clotting (thrombophilia)

* Those with one or more of these conditions (marked with an asterisk) should seek medical advice before travelling and choosing appropriate compression hosiery.

How to prevent DVT?

People taking long haul flights (over 4 hours) can take a number of precautions to help reduce the risk of getting Deep Vein Thrombosis:

  • Wearing Compression Hosiery – Palm Clinic has a range of Stockings available. Compression hosiery can help travellers by providing legs with the extra support they require to ensure correct circulation. This helps blood return back to the heart and lungs preventing leg swelling. Seek medical advice before choosing appropriate compression hosiery.
  • Drink lots of non alcoholic/decaffeinated fluids – this will help to stop dehydration. Drinking plenty of water is recommended, and avoiding alcohol, coffee and tea as these dehydrate the body.
  • Wear loose fitting clothes.
  • Use the footrest – particularly if your legs do not reach the floor comfortably.
  • Walk around the cabin – and do exercises to contract and relax calf muscles and ankles throughout the flight. Inactivity causes blood to build up in the lower parts of the body such as the ankles, calves and feet. This is due to the veins being unable to pump the blood to the heart, as they rely on leg muscle movement to pump the blood upwards.
  • Do not cross your legs – this increases the pressure on the lower leg and restricts  blood circulation.
Varicose Ulcers

Varicose Ulcers

A serious complication of varicose veins. Ulcers are best treated by treating the underlying varicose veins.

This venous ulcer had been present for months and would not heal despite district nurse dressings at home. The picture on the right was taken two weeks after treatment at Palm Clinic. The ulcer is significantly improved, and will continue to heal over the coming months.

Varicose ulcers are a major problem for some Varicose Vein sufferers. The venous leg ulcers can require constant dressings and take weeks to months to heal causing huge inconvenience for patients and enormous cost for the health system. It is important that the cause of the varicose ulcers is treated, namely the abnormal varicose veins.

The best treatment for varicose ulcers is therefore Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA)  or Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy (UGS) of the varicose veins. This restores the normal venous circulation through the deep veins and normalises nutrition in the skin which allows healing of the ulcers. Management of the ulcers before treatment of the varicose veins consists of compression hosiery and regular dressings but it is best to start treatment of the varicose veins as soon as possible. Generally the ulcers will heal within a few weeks of treating the varicose veins.

Varicose Ulcer Before and After Photos
Varicose Ulcer Before and After Photos

Treatment of the underlying varicose veins, and therefore the ulcers, is covered by all major insurance companies such as Southern Cross, Sovereign, NIB (formerly Tower), Unimed and others. Palm Clinic is an affiliated provider to Southern Cross Healthcare and a First Choice provider for NIB.

Leg Swelling

Leg Swelling Treatment

If you have visible varicose veins, or symptoms of varicose veins (aching, tired or heavy legs when standing) then the most likely reason for the leg swelling is the varicose veins themselves.

Varicose veins are ‘incompetent’, meaning they do not drain your leg effectively, leading to a build up of fluid in the feet and lower leg. This will often get worse over the course of the day and be relieved by elevation of the leg. There are other causes for swelling in the leg(s), so it is important that you are assessed by a Doctor to exclude these.

In most cases treatment of the Varicose Veins will resolve the leg swelling. The gold-standard for treatment of varicose veins is Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA), if you are not a candidate for this treatment then Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy (UGS) is a good option.

An alternative to active treatment is to wear Compression Stockings. This is usually a temporary measure, as most patients don’t like to wear compression stockings through the warmer months.

The major causes of leg swelling are listed below:

  • Varicose Veins – impaired drainage by varicose veins due to incompetence (chronic venous incompetence).
  • DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) – impaired drainage due to obstruction of the vein by a clot.
  • External compression of the veins or lymphatic system – tumour, left iliac compression syndrome
  • Heart failure – increased back-pressure on veins due to an impaired heart pump
  • Lymphoedema – decreased drainage of the tissues of the leg due to an impaired lymphatic system
  • Lipoedema – accumulation of fat causing swelling
  • Renal impairment – protein loss from the kidneys causes tissue swelling
  • Liver impairment – decreased production of protein by the liver causes tissue swelling

An initial assessment of leg swelling will include a leg ultrasound at Palm Clinic to confirm or exclude venous incompetence.  If this is confirmed then treatment will be offered for your varicose veins which will usually resolve the leg swelling.

Treatment of varicose veins for leg swelling is covered by medical insurance. Palm Clinic is an affiliated provider to Souther Cross Healthcare for leg swelling caused by varicose veins.  Palm Clinic is also a First Choice provider for NIB (formerly Tower) Insurance.

Vein care for confidence and comfort at every step.
Consulatation at Palm Clinic with Dr Sam DunnConsulatation at Palm Clinic with Dr Sam Dunn

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Please note that individual results may vary from patient to patient, and the information provided on our website is only a guidance to the possible results.