What are varicose veins and how can varicose veins treatment help?
Varicose veins are enlarged and twisted veins in the leg. They tend to run in families and are made worse by pregnancy and in people whose jobs mean they do a lot of standing.
Veins in the legs contain many one-way valves to help the upward flow of blood back to the heart. If the valves fail to work properly, blood can flow in the wrong direction, causing varicose veins (see figure 1).
What are the benefits of varicose veins treatment?
You should no longer have varicose veins, and your symptoms should improve. Surgery should help prevent complications that varicose veins may cause.
Are there any alternatives to varicose veins treatment?
There are other varicose veins treatment such as injections, radiofrequency ablation (RFA) or endovenous laser ablation (EVLA).
Support stockings can often prevent the veins from getting worse and ease aching.
What does the operation involve?
Varicose veins treatment are usually performed under a general anaesthetic. The operation usually takes between twenty minutes and two and a half hours.
Your surgeon may disconnect the superficial veins from the deep veins in your legs through a cut in your groin or the back of your knee. They will probably make many small cuts along the length of the varicose veins and remove them.
Often the main varicose vein is ‘stripped out’ using a special instrument.
What complications can happen?
1. General complications of any operation
Infection in a surgical wound
2. Specific complications of this operation
Developing a lump under a wound
Numbness or tingling
Damage to nerves
Continued varicose veins
Swelling of the leg
Major injury to the main arteries, veins or nerves of the leg
How soon will I recover?
You should be able to go home later on the same day.
You may need to wear support stockings.
You should be able to return to work after one to two weeks but this may vary depending on your type of work.
As long as your wounds have healed, you should be able to carry out normal activities by four weeks.
Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, you should ask a member of the healthcare team or your GP for advice. Occasionally varicose veins come back.
Varicose veins treatment summary
Varicose veins are a common problem and can lead to complications if left untreated. Support stockings can help to control symptoms but will not remove the varicose veins.
Paying for your operation
Varicose veins treatment costs are covered by most medical insurance policies, but please check with your insurer first. If you are paying for your own treatment the cost of the operation will be explained and confirmed in writing when you book the operation. Ask the hospital for a quote beforehand, and ensure that this includes the surgeon’s fee, the anaesthetist’s fee and the hospital charge for your procedure.