Nov 01, 2011

The Canmore MediSpa and Laser Centre

Get Beautiful Legs Now

Fall and winter are times of the year when many people think about treating those unsightly varicose veins and spider veins on their legs.  Varicose veins can mean anything from just some tiny ‘spider veins’ on the thighs, to large bulging, dilated blue veins all over the legs.  

I am often asked ‘what causes varicose veins?’ The answer to this is the improper choice of grandparent!  Yes, most cases of varicose veins are inherited and may only affect one leg.  They may just not look pretty but, often, they can be a cause of leg pain and swelling in the ankles or feet.  Depending on the severity, they may just continue as a nuisance or can progress to eventually cause skin break down and ulcers on the legs.

How to treat Varicose Veins?  It depends on the cause. We are not sure of the cause of the smaller spider veins that are so common, particularly on the outside of the thighs. Little veins like these are easily treated with sclerotherapy.  A tiny needle is used to inject the veins with a solution that irritates the lining of the vein.  In response to the injection, the veins collapse and are reabsorbed by your body.  The veins will then disappear over a few weeks.  

For larger veins, I conduct a full examination of the veins in the legs, where I visually monitor the vein on an ultrasound screen in my office, to map out the vein system. This will let me see where the root of the problem comes from. Then we can undertake a proper plan of treatment.

There are several treatment options for larger veins. If the veins are not too large, they can be successfully treated by injections. New types of injections make this possible. Today, we will inject foam instead of a liquid as it stays in the vein longer. In addition, this technique is even safer now because we inject the vein guided by ultrasound, ensuring that we are treating the proper vein.

If the vein is considered too large for injection, then we must consider either a special technique done with laser or surgery. The laser technique works well with certain types of veins, but is very expensive, making it cost prohibitive for many people.  The alternative is surgery, which is called ‘stripping’ but again, techniques have greatly improved over the past several years. Now, only very small incisions are made  in the area of the groin and only the damaged segments of the veins are removed. This makes the recovery from the surgery much quicker than in days of old and with a very nice cosmetic result as well. 

The unfortunate thing with varicose veins is that you can never say that they are cured. It is common for the body to generate new veins. Fortunately, if these new veins need to be removed they are often easily treated by injection in our office.  Check your health care insurance company to see if you are covered. 

So now is the time to think about treating those veins so that you can show off your gorgeous legs when spring arrives and it is again time to get back into shorts. 


The Canmore MediSpa had a booth at the Calgary Woman’s Show on the weekend of October 22nd and 23rd October. Leslie, Susan, Amber and Dr. Balharry operated the booth. This turned out to be a very busy event with many people interested in what we do.  This left us with dry mouths and sore backs but delighted with the interest. It was one of the busiest  shows that we have attended.

Dr. Balharry spent the last weekend of October in Vancouver for the Annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Orthopaedic Medicine (CAOM). This program was called ‘Orthopaedic Medicine – The Leading Edge’. The Friday program was dedicated to a full day workshop on the Cyriax method of examining and treating the shoulder. Dr. James Cyriax is considered the founder of assessing and treating disorders of the musculoskeletal system and developed the foundation for the techniques of examination and treatment still used to this day.

Dr. Balharry has many years of experience with specialised injection treatments for sports injuries, arthritis, back pain and many other forms of soft tissue pain. These treatments include prolotherapy, trigger point injections, nerve blocks and PRP (platelet rich plasma) injections. The CAOM allows a collegial sharing of experience with other physicians interested in such techniques. 

Category: Newsletter