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Monday, December 7, 2009

Varicose vein

Two years ago my husband, Dave, was limping and complaining of painful leg. There, on his calf a very nasty and definitely swollen looking veins. He went to see a vascular surgeon and was told he needed to have his varicose veins stripped.

image: wikimedia

What is a varicose vein? Normally, in a healthy vein, blood flows smoothly to the heart. There are tiny one-way valves which prevents the blood flowing backwards in to the veins, specifically the large veins of the legs. Once these tiny valves becomes damaged or weakens, the blood will flow backwards/leaks and will start pooling or collecting in the vein. This will eventually caused enlargement or dilatation of a section of a vein.

Aside from being unsightly,these enlarge/swollen veins stands out in dark blue or purple color. It can be lumpy, twisted or bulging in appearance. It can be painful or itchy and on severe cases becomes ulcerated.

There are few factors that will increase the likelihood of having this condition. Some of which are:

pregnancy - mainly due to the baby putting more pressure on the pelvic veins. The hormonal changes during pregnancy causes the vein to relax.

family history

age - we become more at risk as we grow old.

prolonged standing - gravity tends to pull the blood back down, theoretically. However, there is no hard evidence that support the claim. I, personally, does not suffer from it albeit the nature of my work.

Treatment varies. Using anti - embolic stockings and raising the legs above the level of the heart can be done as preventive measures or ease discomfort. Injection of sclerosing solution can be an effective way to get rid of those unsightly veins and relieve the pain. On severe cases, surgery is necessary.

Varicose vein stripping or removal of the vein can be long operation or short one. It all depends on whether one is operating on one or both legs and how many times one needs to change patient's position during surgery. Aside from stripping the big veins in your leg, avulsion of small veins are to be taken into account. The procedure normally takes 3/4 of an hour each leg.

The hubby had the operation done in the morning and was home late afternoon. His right leg bandaged for a week. He has to sleep or lie down with his affected leg on a pillow to prevent edema. It took a good couple of weeks time for the bruise to subside and for him to assume activities of daily living.



Note: Some people finds this video disturbing.Watch at your own risk.


This article does not intend to diagnose. It is to share useful information of the author's experiences as an operating room nurse/ perioperative nurse.

13 comments:

  1. not quite disturbing thou

    A smile from SJ =)

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  2. That looks scary and so painful!

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  3. i g0t this small varicose veins fr0m standing 12-16hrs a day for alm0st 4yrs,and im c0nsidering operati0n but i hate cuts and injecti0n.n0w im just d0ing the legs up p0siti0n for 1hr everyday

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  4. My sister suffer fromm this too. Now I know what is the treatment and I bet she won't try..

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  5. Interesting to learn about varicose veins. Couldn't bring myself to watch the video though. :D

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  6. I am so glad I don't have any of these. My grandmother had them, and they were so painful, and of course not the prettiest things to look at.

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  7. That's one thing that neither hubby nor I have -----YET.... Hope we never get varicose veins.. BUT--I've seen people with them and they do look horrible.

    Thanks for the info, Eng.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  8. I used to work two jobs both of which required standing all day. My legs were in better shape then than now. I sit at my current job and my legs swell from the inactivity...Health is precious and we need to safeguard it. He is lucky to have such a fine wife to help him take care of himself. :-) I'm sure you will make sure he follows his doctor's orders. God bless and I hope he has a speedy recovery.

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  9. My mom-in-law underwent this kind of surgery too. Until now,she's still limping. It's been months since the operation so it's really disturbing why she still moves without comfort.

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  10. I never knew it can be remove o.O

    Thanks for the tips :).

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  11. ouch! that looks so painful! hope hubby has a quick recovery!

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  12. I'm trying to be cautious not to have it =P

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