Medical Q&As

Varicose veins - allergic to anaesthetics?

My mother has very bad varicose veins and unfortunately is allergic to anaesthetics. Can a laser be used to treat the veins and is this treatment available in Ireland?

Laser treatment is available in Ireland for the treatment of veins but it is usually confined to treating small spider veins on the face and legs. I doubt that such treatment would be appropriate for your mother since you say that her veins are quite bad. A new form of laser treatment is currently being developed, which involves the use of the laser inside the vein thereby heating the damaged valve within the vein and closing off that particular vein. This could be considered to be a high tech equivalent of the more traditional treatment of sclerotherapy, which involved injecting an irritant substance into the vein that blocked the vein resulting in diversion of blood flow into the healthier surrounding veins. As I mentioned previously this is a new form of treatment that is still being developed and to the best of my knowledge it is not yet available in Ireland. You say that your mother cannot have a general anaesthetic because she is allergic to them. Presumably she had a reaction to a previous anaesthetic but this does not preclude the use of all general anaesthetic agents assuming that she is otherwise healthy and does not herself constitute a bad anaesthetic risk. Various anaesthetic drugs are available and it is possible that some of the newer agents might be appropriate for her. There are other anaesthetic options available such as spinal anaesthesia, which could get over the difficulties of not being able to use a general anaesthetic.