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Are there added weight and age risk factors in varicose vein removal?

This question was asked in Acequia, Idaho and has 13 answer(s) as of 05/20/2013.
I am 60 years old and a big woman. I have many varicose veins that I would like to get removed. Is there an age or weight requirement for treatment? Are there added risk factors because of my age and that fact that I am overweight? I have waited so long to look for help and I'm afraid that there's nothing I can do now.


Doctors Answers (13)

If you are mobile, there is no significant added risk factors due primarily to weight. There have been some studies that have demonstrated that it requires more energy to shutdown abnormal veins in patients who are overweight but this is a technical issue that relates to the potential of recurrence. Recurrence in general is more likely to occur in someone who is overweight but this can be managed with careful follow-up. Often, patients who are overweight are the ones to suffer from the most severe consequences of having vein problems. If you are symptomatic, then treatment is something that you should consider.

No weight or age limits though we often recommend weight loss prior. After, it is important to walk, stay active, wear compression hose and we always get a follow up scan.

it is true that age greater than 45 and excess weight increase the risks for ANY operation However, proper pre op screening keeps the risk to an absolute minimum it is unlikely that you cannot be helped if proper planning is used.

Your age is not a risk factor. As far as your size, it is just important to be compliant with good compression following treatment. A snug compression stocking with 30-40mmHg pressure is recommended. I would not defer your evaluation or treatment because of your size and age.

Surgical removal of varicose veins in an overweight, obese person can be challenging. The best option for you is Radiofrequency or Laser closure of the Greater Saphenous, Accessory Saphenous and Small saphenous if venous reflux is confirmed on the Ultrasound examination. The tributary varicosities can be removed by microphlebectomy (provided they are superficial) and/or injected with Foam Sclerotherapy followed by compression for those veins that cannot be palpated but can be seen with Duplex Ultrasound Imaging. All of these procedures can be done as outpatient provided your weight does not exceed 250 - 300 lbs.

Weight and age do not increase the problems associated with varicose vein treatment. I have on occasion not be able to access the great saphenous vein for endovascular ablation or ultrasound guided sclerotherapy because I could not image the vessels well with ultrasound. The other problem with increased weight is that some patients have difficulty laying flat on the procedure table.

There are no limits on age. Actually, the majority of our patients are in their sixties. Regarding weight, the only possible issue will be the table on which the procedure is performed- some tables have limits up to 500 lbs but you need to check with the clinic you choose about their table limit.

There is no specific age or weight restrictions in treating varicose veins. We have treated many 70 year old patients and even some patients in their 80's. What is important is the general health of the patient. If other conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes or other chronic conditions are present, then they should be under good control prior to elective medical treatments. Weights of 400 pounds and under are easily managed by our hydraulic lift table.

Veins surgery carries higher risks in older people who are overweight. However, the newer ablation procedures using either laser or radiofrequency can be done safely at minimal risk regardless of age and weight.

Although weight can increase the incidence of varicose veins, it should not prevent you from getting your veins treated if needed. Varicose vein surgery can now be done in an office under local anesthesia. This eliminates the risk associated with general anesthesia and your weight.

Most likely you can be helped! Morbid obesity contributes to the problem, but this can be addressed. You should be evaluated and get a plan started.

Weight and age are not a contraindication for varicose vein treatment and risk factors are the same regardless of age or weight.

In general, age and weight are not reasons to avoid treatment of significant varicose vein problems. The minimally-invasive procedures can be performed in patients over 90 years of age if they are in reasonable medical condition and if the problem warrants treatment to avoid further complications of leg swelling, infection, ulcers, or pain. The risk of deep vein clotting after treatment may go up some with increasing weight and immobility, but the patient and physician should evaluate the risk and the expected benefits and make an informed decision. From a practical standpoint, imaging of the saphenous vein for endovenous thermal ablation becomes more difficult if the vein is very deep in a thigh and this may present some limitation on treatment in a few extremely obese patients.

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