Voiceover: For 71 year old Colin, his legs have also had enough, which is especially bad for him as he’s one of the 10% of septuagenarians still working and he’s always on his feet because he runs a restaurant.
Colin: It gets hot and very uncomfortable and the ankle feels as though it’s disintegrating. It makes you feel quite grumpy, the constant aggravation.
Colin’s companion: He’s never worn shorts because his legs look so bad.
Dr Pixie: What seems to be the problem?
Colin: I’ve got problems with my legs. I have quite a lot of aching in the legs and the protrusion of veins that I have considered varicose veins. I’m not bothered about the appearance particularly but it is getting worse. I want to be able to continue working for as long as I can and because I’m on my feet quite a lot I felt it was about time I had something done about it.
Dr Pixie: Sure. I have to say Colin that is a very, very impressive varicose vein you’ve got there. It’s going the whole way up to your groin and I can see how they’re going to ache. My feeling is, were you to leave this alone, taking away the cosmetic appearance of it that this is ultimately probably going to suffer and break out as a little ulcer. The great news is these veins you don’t need. You can manage absolutely fine without these veins because these are your superficial veins. So what I think is the best thing to do Colin is we need to get you seen by a specialist to do an assessment of this, a scan of this basically to work out exactly where the problem is and take it from there in terms of treatment. Would you be happy to go along with that?
Colin: I will, definitely.
Voiceover: Varicose veins are both unsightly and embarrassing. They affect about 20% of us and often come with old age. They are blood vessels just beneath the skin that have widened and twisted due to defective valves within the veins. In Colin’s case they have become ulcerated, which means a risk of infection. Today he’s been sent to see specialist Mr Mo Bagginit for a scan.
Mr Bagginit: This is the vein that is causing the trouble and if we look along here it’s all dilated. This should really be only a few millimetres in size and all the valves would normally be working very well here but the blood is coming back down the leg rather than going back up as it should do.
Voiceover: This kind of treatment used to be incredibly painful but thanks to a revolutionary new approach called Endovenus laser therapy it can be done painlessly under local anaesthetic.
Dr Bagginit: You might just feel a little pushing and pulling there Colin.
Voiceover: Mr Bagginit inserts a laser fibrotic up the vein which originates in Colin’s groin. It then lights down and the laser is used to heat and destroy the wall of the vein as the fibre is slowly removed. The lower parts of the vein that had become swollen and unsightly are then simply pulled out through the small incisions in Colin’s leg and it’s all done.
Dr Bagginet: How are you feeling?
Colin: All right.
Dr Pixie: Hi Colin how are you?
Voiceover: A few weeks later he is back to show Dr Pixie.
Dr Pixie: Thank you for coming back. How did it all go?
Colin: I think it went very well. I want to go back to work fairly soon. I’ve been getting plenty of exercise, walks and that. The difference between this week and last week is tremendous really.
Dr Pixie: Is it?
Colin: The improvement, yeah.
Dr Pixie: I’d say you’re very pleased with that.
Colin: Yes. It’s a lot better than I thought it would be.
Dr Pixie: I mean this is week 2?
Colin: This is only the second week yes. The ankle doesn’t swell up now and it doesn’t feel painful either. It doesn’t feel like its disintegrating like it used to and the itchiness has gone from the leg itself, and it feels as though I’ve got my leg back.
Dr Pixie: Don’t try and get back to work too early. Remember, six weeks is six weeks.
Colin: I will remember that, OK.
About 20% of us suffer from varicose veins, blood vessels just beneath the skin that have widened and twisted due to defections in the valves. Particularly bad cases can lead to ulcerations making the problem even more embarrassing. Luckily for her patient Dr Pixie has the answer.
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