I go on about reflux a lot in my videos, my blogs and when I speak on the subject of veins at meetings. It might sound a little theoretical but I am going to show you the proof that reflux is important.
With the exception of deep vein thrombosis, nearly all leg vein problems are due to reflux. Now, whenever any fluid travels in the wrong direction in the body, the term reflux is used. So for example, if acid comes up in the wrong direction in the chest into the chest, the person is said to have acid indigestion reflux. Acid should go downwards to digest the food. Well, blood flow in veins should go up the legs, from the foot towards the heart. If the one-way valves inside the veins are not working properly, gravity can pull the blood down towards the foot and the term vein reflux is used. This down flow of blood in the wrong direction is the common cause of varicose veins and thread veins as well as complications such as varicose eczema and leg ulcers. Reflux is also a risk factor for DVT. Often the reflux is in the veins a little distance from the surface. You can’t see reflux in these veins by just looking at the leg. Professor Mark Whiteley has called these veins “hidden varicose veins” simply because they can’t be seen. However, the refluxing back flow can reveal itself as either lumpy side branches, visible varicose veins or as thread veins. Even if the reflux remains hidden, it can still cause ache, pain, throbbing, varicose eczema, leg ulcers and DVT. In the video, you can see a case study involving a lady who had reflux in the saphenous vein and the back flow came from the top of her thigh right down to her ankle. The saphenous vein and the reflux in it could only be detected by a duplex ultrasound scan but the down-flow also caused distension of surface side branches giving rise to the varicose veins we can see.I treated her with VenaSeal – a medical superglue. With only one local anaesthetic jab, and using ultrasound to guide me, I was able to introduce a tiny catheter into the refluxing saphenous vein near her ankle and gently thread it up to the top of the refluxing vein in her thigh. Using miniscule amounts of medical superglue, I closed the vein and stopped the reflux. Now when she gets out of bed and stands up first thing in the morning, blood no longer refluxes down her leg and the varicose veins no longer fill. They have returned to normal and have disappeared. I only treated the reflux, I didn’t do any stripping and I didn’t operate on the surface varicose veins. Yet, by treating the “hidden varicose veins”, the reflux in the saphenous vein, the surface visible varicose veins have disappeared. That’s the importance of vein reflux!
If you’re worried about your veins and would like a confidential chat please do get in touch. I am happy to offer simple advice by telephone or email for free and without obligation.
The VeinCare Centre also offers a screening assessment with our vascular technologist. For £25 you can have a scan with Wendy Parsons. She is not a doctor and so she could not give you medical advice but she can check your deep veins and your varicose veins and give you an idea of how bad they are and what treatment options might be available. If you would like to have an appointment with Wendy please call 0800 698 3467.