Revisiting the Recorded History of Varicose Veins

Varicose Veins is a common health issue, but contrary to popular belief, this is a newly discovered health issues. In fact, it dates back to the history of man, and we are going to dig it out.

The Ancient Chapter (Prehistory-300 BC)

The word “Varicose” has its origin from Greek, which means Grapelike. This was the first medical description given by Hippocrates in 460 BC, although there are various accounts of this disease dating back to prehistoric times.

In early recordings, it was believed to be a cosmetic issue, but the definition and treatment were different around the world throughout history as it evolved. Ancient Egypt dubbed varicose veins symptoms as “Serpentine Winding. They are believed to be the first one performing surgery to remove it, which unfortunately lead to fatal haemorrhaging.

While Hippocrates is believed to be the first person with an accurate description, he advanced the treatment without suggesting excision. Instead, his method focused more on compressing the multiple punctures as he believed in cautery.

Paulus Aegineta (AD 625-690) preferred ligation of Saphenous vein almost 200 years before Trendelenburg.

Celcus, a Roman Physician described ligation and excision surgeries with their complications between 25 BC – 14 AD. In 131-201 AD, Galen improved the description of varicose and suggested to severe artery connection to the vein to keep it from spreading and get rid of the pain.

Both Galen and Celcus are credited with a description of Phlebectomies. This is a technique still used in the digital era. It consists of 4 fingerbreadths apart incision and touching the vein with cautery, grasp and get as much vein out which will double the damping and divide it between ligatures.

Moving on, Roman Caius Marius, he had varicose vein surgery and after surgery on one leg as he denied on the other one saying this pain is not worth it.

A Byzantine Physician, Orbasius of Pergamum advanced the study on Varicose veins symptoms in 325-405 BC. His treatment included shaving and batching the led with small incisions and excision.

Medieval to Pre-Modern

According to more recent history, Arabian Surgeon Albuscasis (930-1313 AD) wrote Tasrif. It is a collection of medical and surgical research. This writing is known as a medieval surgical encyclopedia. It teat with all aspects of surgery at that time, and gave an accurate description of varicose veins symptoms, which are accurate to date.

The next centuries say ligation is becoming the size of varix. This was further improved a decade later when a German Surgeon, Lorenz Heister improved the procedure of surgery, bleeding and bandage. He also said to avoid surgery for a Varicose vein. There were many drugs introduced in mid-1600. But the next great discovery didn’t happen till early modern history.

Early Modern to Present

The next breakthrough was in 1850’s with the invention of Intravenous drugs, and Hypodermic syringe. It also saw introduced of anaesthesia and antiseptics which helped treating varicose veins. 20th-century methods were still crude.

Crossectomy was introduced in 1916. It became standard treatment for varicose vein with small incisions. Later, electrosurgical devices came, and old methods were denounced for the favour of more advanced methods. In 2000, a safe method, Endovenous Obliteration with Radiofrequency was introduced. This became standard treatment, but it has been improved from 2mm to 12mm catheters which are minimally invasive with visible results.