re there really advantages to having varicose veins treated in winter?
Dr. Salama: Varicose veins, medically known as dilated, tortuous, and nodular upper veins. Very often, those affected suffer from the unsightly appearance of varicose veins. Therefore, many look forward to the colder months when they can wear long pants and hide their legs comfortably. Although the cold season makes it easier to hide the problem, many doctors agree that winter is the best time of year to treat varicose veins.
What specifically speaks in favor of varicose vein treatment in winter?
Dr. Salama: Winter helps reduce the symptoms of varicose veins! The cooler weather can actually have a positive effect on varicose vein symptoms by reducing discomfort, swelling and cramping. Compression stockings have been shown to provide relief for varicose veins and have a positive impact on health. In winter, in contrast to hot days, it is also simply more comfortable to wear compression stockings. They are also prescribed after treatment. It is recommended to wear them for 3 to 5 days. Due to the thickness of compression stockings, it is easy to imagine that they keep you quite warm and are harder to bear in the warmer months.
That sounds very plausible. But what other advantages does winter have?
Dr. Salama: After the treatment of varicose veins, you may get a slight bruise and a very slight swelling. Basically, UV rays can cause damage and hinder recovery from varicose vein treatment. We at the LBCL Surgery & Vein Practice at the Kindermann Center therefore recommend that our patients keep their legs out of the sun for a few weeks after varicose vein treatment, especially after sclerotherapy. This is because UV rays sometimes cause skin discoloration on the healing legs. It is very likely that patients are more likely to wear long pants in winter and spend more time indoors, so it is easier to avoid sun exposure. In addition, we all slow down in the winter! For a few weeks after treatment, it is important to avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting, as the internal pressure in the blood vessels may already be high and activities that involve straining and lifting can further increase the pressure and put excessive strain on the circulation. Therefore, there are certain athletic exercises that vein doctors advise against, such as lifting weights, squats, abdominal crunches, sit-ups or lunges.
So is winter really the better time for varicose vein treatment?
Dr. Salama: Despite the benefits mentioned, a 2019 Swiss study failed to provide medical evidence that varicose vein treatment is more beneficial in winter than in summer. The observed seasonal distribution of surgeries showed an almost identical pattern in both years of observation in the study, with a maximum of surgeries in winter and a minimum in summer. However, the primary determinant of surgery or treatment time was the patient's occupation and employment. The second determining factor was the symptomatology of varicose veins. In general, symptoms and prevention of possible complications are important for female patients and for patients with advanced disease. Based on our experience at LBCL Surgery & Vein Practice, we have found that patients with their vein disease tend to come to us more during the summer months when symptoms increase due to temperatures. Of course, we operate both in summer and winter. The most important thing after the operation is to use a first class elastic compression stocking made of a special thin material. Due to its elastic volume stretchability, it provides exactly the relative amount of compression needed for postoperative treatment of the veins.