1. Surgery is the only solution for varicose veins. The concept of surgery has been rapidly outdated by non surgical procedures such as Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy and Endovenous Laser Ablation. Whilst there may be some role for the minor surgical procedure of phlebectomy, the long practiced procedure of vein “stripping” should be reserved for the history books.
2. Spider veins turn into varicose veins. The mechanism for the development of varicose veins involves a faulty deeper system whereas spider veins are the result of superficial problems generally not involving the deeper system.
3. Crossing your legs leads to varicose veins. Simply no evidence.
4. Varicose veins are due to an old injury. Unless that injury specifically involved a vein (very unlikely) then the injury was irrelevant although it may have been in an area where there was a yet unrecognised venous abnormality which became more obvious after the trauma.
5. Sclerotherapy doesn’t last. This is incorrect if the veins are properly treated (reticular veins as well as the spider veins) but is certainly true if the reticular veins are not treated.
6. Patients cause varicose veins. Whilst there is no doubt that pregnancy and prolonged standing will aggravate an underlying condition they do not per se cause varicose veins but rather exacerbate a genetic predisposition.
7. Compression stockings will prevent varicose veins. Simply no evidence although stockings may give some symptomatic relief.
8. Varicose veins do not need treatment unless they are sore. This is perhaps the most serious of the myths as it leads people to delay treatment for veins until the problem is very severe. There is little correlation between discomfort and severity and often patients will present with complications from veins such as ulcers and blood clots without ever having experienced any prior discomfort.
9. Vein treatments are painful. This was certainly true for older style treatments involving painful solutions or surgery but the newer treatment methods involve better solutions or can be done under local anaesthetic cover with minimal discomfort afterwards.
10. Children will get varicose veins if both parents have varicose veins. Whilst it is more likely that children will get veins in this situation it is far from guaranteed.