Varicose veins are not a modern malady—they have been plaguing human beings for thousands of years. So how has the approach to vein care developed and changed? See for yourself in this “snapshot” of its history:
1500 B.C. Ancient Egyptians first mention varicose veins in the Ebers papyrus. The veins were described as “serpentine windings” which were not to be operated on because it was believed to lead to fatal hemorrhaging.
460 B.C. Hippocrates wrote some of the earliest medical descriptions of varicose vein treatment. While he did not recommend excision (removal by cutting), he prescribed compression following multiple punctures. He also believed in the use of cautery.
1700s German physician Lorenz Heister criticized past methods and pushed for treatment by bleeding, a strict diet and the application of bandages to the legs.
1890 Friedrich Trendelenburg, perhaps one of the most well-known venous surgeons, popularized mid-thigh ligation (binding/tying off) of the greater saphenous vein.
1894 After 40 years of trial and error using various injections of anesthesia and antiseptics, the injection method was abandoned at the International Surgical Congress in Lyon in 1894. Complications developed too frequently for the injections to be considered viable.
1906 The early 20th century brought about the advent of vein stripping. Charles Mayo and others created stripping devices that completely removed troubled varicose veins.
1950s-1980s Vein stripping was widely popular from the 1950s until the 80s, and is still performed today. The drawbacks are becoming increasingly apparent, though, as new technology and methods produce great results. Vein stripping drawbacks include: significant infection rate, high incidence of post-operative pain, limited post-operative patient activity and high rate of recurrences.
1980s- Present Thanks to a resurgence in research and development, we now have the benefit of effective non-surgical methods that have enjoyed high success rates: sclerotherapy, pulsed light treatment, ambulatory phlebectomy and endovenous laser treatment. A growing body of evidence supports their effectiveness, and patient satisfaction is at an all-time high.
Phlebology has come a long way indeed, and we’re grateful to be at the forefront of such an exciting medical field. Contact Dr. Zimmet’s office today to find out more about how we can help you get rid of your varicose and spider veins.