Complications

Complications following treatment of varicose veins can include the following;

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  • Unsightly Appearance
  • Swelling
  • Aching
  • Easy Bruising
  • Surface Vein Formation (Spider Veins)
  • Dermatitis and Itch
  • Inflammation and Pain
  • Damage
  • Ulcer
  • Discolouration
  • Superficial Thrombosis
  • Bleeding
  • Death
  • Unsightly Appearance

    Unsightly appearance can occur in the from of lumps and distended veins.
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    Swelling

    Swelling of the limbs from fluid accumulation (odema), generally around the ankles.
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    Aching

    Aching of the limbs from high venous pressure and fluid accumulation (odema).
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    Easy Bruising

    Easy bruising can occur after minor knocks or bumps.
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    Surface Vein Formation (Spider Veins)

    Surface vein formation (spider veins) is more pronounced with varicose veins, but these small veins are harmless.
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    Dermatitis and Itch

    Dermatitis in the form of an uncomfortable itchy rash (normally around the ankles).
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    Inflammation and Pain

    Inflammation and pain from pressure in the veins making them tender and bruised.
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    Damage

    Inflammation (cellulitis) and tissue hardening in the calf often looks like infection but is usually only inflammation from tissue damage. Damage to the fatty tissue causes permanent scarring around the ankles leading to skin hardening and the legs taking on a “Champagne Bottle” shape.
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    Ulcer

    Ulcer formation, especially around the ankles, can result from underlying varicose veins. Any abrasion in the presence of varicose veins will take a longer time to heal. Sores and ulcers can occur without injury and may just appear spontaneously.
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    Discolouration

    Discolouration of the limbs with brown staining from iron deposits and/or aggravation of surface veins (blue-purple discolouration) can occur.
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    Superficial Thrombosis

    Thrombosis: Clot formation in the veins, causing lumps and inflammation under the skin, can be dangerous and needs prompt review. Most episodes of surface thrombosis are managed with anti-inflammatories. Deep Vein Thrombosis however, can occur subsequent to surface thrombosis. Thrombosis close to the groin can result in serious complications and needs prompt management.
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    Bleeding

    Bleeding from veins, especially from the lower leg or foot, can be life threatening unless treated. A bandage and leg elevation prevents catastrophic blood loss.
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    Death

    Although not common, death can be a result of related issues to varicose veins. Bleeding from veins can be life threatening but only if neglected and not managed by pressure and elevation of the leg. The veins that tend to bleed are the purple lumpy veins at the ankles.

    Thrombosis close to the groin can result in clots breaking off and traveling to the lungs (pulmonary embolism) causing death. Thrombosis in very large leg veins can also propagate and be dangerous.
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