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Phlebology is an evolving medical sub-specialty devoted to disorders of veins. A phlebologist is a medically qualified doctor who has undergone further post-graduate training to expertly diagnose, treat and where possible, prevent any form of venous disease, whether it be varicose veins, clotting disorders, vascular birthmarks or leg ulcers. Patients with these conditions can seek help by consulting a phlebologist. Serious interest in phlebology has developed over the last twenty years in Australia and New Zealand, however, it has been an established medical specialty in Europe for more than fifty years. Up to 30% of the population suffer from varicose veins or their associated complications. Symptoms include heaviness, aching, burning, stinging, throbbing, swelling and leg cramps and restlessness. The presence of a skin rash on the leg, small blue veins on the feet, lower leg skin discoloration, pigmentation and scarring are usually due to advanced vein problems. If left untreated they can predispose to leg ulcers. Many elderly patients suffer from leg ulceration, the management of which costs the community millions of dollars every year. Prevention can be achieved by treating abnormal veins before ulcers develop. Blood clots can form in the deep veins causing deep vein thrombosis (DVT). A clot can dislodge to the lungs causing pulmonary embolism which is a life threatening condition. DVT can occur spontaneously, due to inherited clotting disorders, following long-distance travel, after an operation or as a manifestation of an underlying cancer. The acute and chronic consequences of DVT are investigated and managed by a phlebologist.

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