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Varicose vein treatment

Say goodbye to unsightly varicose veins

As blood moves around your body, it provides oxygen and nutrients and removes waste products. The vessels that carry the blood through your body are arteries, veins and capillaries.

Veins have non-return valves at various points. Blood can flow freely through them, but the valves close to prevent blood flowing back the wrong way. If these valves stop working properly, pressure in the vessels can build up, causing those nearest the surface of the skin (superficial vessels) to enlarge and twist. This usually causes the vein to become visible on the skin, showing up as unsightly blue or dark purple lines. These are known as varicose veins.

Anyone can develop varicose veins, although they are more common in people aged between 20 – 50 and those who spend a lot of time standing (like hairdressers and shop assistants). They also occur more frequently in women.

Unfortunately, varicose veins will not go away naturally. Once you have them, they are with you to stay…unless you have varicose vein surgery.

If you are unhappy with your varicose veins, effective treatments are available to improve the appearance of your legs. At BMI Bath Clinic we can arrange an appointment for you with a specialist vascular consultant at a time convenient to you to discuss treatment options.

Vascular surgery is involved in assessing and treating problems associated with the blood vessels (apart from those in the heart and the head, which are more usually managed by cardiologists and neurosurgeons).

In addition to venous conditions, problems can also occur within the arteries. Peripheral arterial disease occurs when the blood vessels supplying the limbs become narrowed. This narrowing (or sometimes a complete blockage) reduces the blood flow to the affected area. While a relatively small narrowing may only cause mild or even no symptoms, a more significant narrowing may cause symptoms such as:

  • Pain in the muscles of the leg – this often becomes worse after walking for a period of time (claudication)
  • Leg ulcers – these often occur on the inside of the leg, near the ankle
  • Numbness / tingling in the feet or toes

Our vascular specialists at BMI Bath Clinic can investigate and diagnose problems in any of these vessels, although treatment for more serious vascular conditions will be arranged outside the hospital. Your consultant will refer you to the appropriate specialist or service where appropriate.

Whether you are struggling with pain in your legs after walking or would like to talk with somebody about varicose vein treatment, our experienced Consultant Vascular Surgeons would be delighted to meet with you.

At BMI Bath Clinic, we specialise in treating varicose veins.

Varicose veins are not life-threatening, but they will often become more prominent over time if left untreated.

As they become larger and more visible, many people find their confidence and self-image is affected. They may start to wear clothes specifically to cover up their legs, so that the varicose veins cannot be seen. While this may be fine in colder weather, in the warm summer months it can be easy to get quite disheartened knowing that you can’t wear shorts, skirts or bathing costumes without having your varicose veins prominently on display.

Sometimes smaller veins in the leg are affected, creating a thin, spider-like appearance on the legs. These are referred to as spider veins (or thread veins).

There are three reasons people may choose to have private varicose vein surgery:

  • To LOOK better
  • To FEEL better
  • To PREVENT anything worse developing in the future (such as venous ulceration)

Many people will not have symptoms but will want to have varicose vein surgery for cosmetic reasons, to improve the appearance of their legs.

Between 50 - 60% of people with varicose veins may have symptoms related to them. Common symptoms include:

  • Aching and swelling in the legs or ankles
  • Itching of the legs
  • Varicose eczema

The NHS does not routinely treat varicose veins as they are perceived as more of a cosmetic problem than a medical one. It is only if they cause more serious problems, such as leg ulcers, that help is available. Treatments advised on the NHS website include using compression stockings, avoiding standing up for long periods of time and exercising regularly.

While these can be helpful, they are primarily aimed at relieving symptoms and not at treating the source of the problem and thus improving the appearance of the legs.

By choosing to have private varicose vein surgery at an earlier stage, you reduce your risk of developing a more serious problem at a later date.

Many years ago, the only surgical option for treating varicose veins was “open” surgery. This involved a general anaesthetic, a cut in the groin area to tie off the vein and stripping of the main vein.

Fortunately, there have been significant advances since then! Modern minimally invasive vascular surgery provides far faster, simpler treatment options with much quicker recovery times.

Varicose veins can be treated at BMI Bath Clinic using a number of techniques, including:

Radiofrequency ablation / VNUS closure 

A small thin wire is passed into the varicose vein and used to position the VNUS probe. Heat energy is then used to seal the vein up from the inside. This causes blood to be re-directed through other healthy veins, reducing the pressure within the varicose veins so that they can shrink back to their normal (less visible) size.

This can be performed under a local anaesthetic and because only very small incisions are made in the skin, you will have less pain and bruising, fewer (and smaller) scars and will be able to return to normal activity almost immediately.

Ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy 

Sclerotherapy involves injecting a chemical into a vein that causes them to seal up. Foam spreads rapidly through the vein and is very effective at pushing blood out and sealing up the vein. The foam is injected under ultrasound guidance to ensure precision. This can be used to treat varicose veins and thread/spider veins.

With either method, you will be able to drive again within 48 hours and return to work after 3-4 days. There are no sutures or stitches to worry about and many people will not require any form of pain relief (those that do will only require mild analgesia). It really is a very straightforward operation.

Our vascular consultants are highly experienced in treating varicose veins. A diagnostic scan after your initial consultation (see below) will help determine the most suitable treatment option for you, and you will then be able to decide how you would like to proceed.

When you first meet with your consultant, they will take a detailed medical history and talk with you about your varicose veins and any symptoms you have. They may ask you questions like:

  • What symptoms have you been experiencing?
  • When did they start / when did they become noticeable?
  • Do you have pain anywhere in your leg? If so, can you describe it?
  • Have any of symptoms become worse over time?

They will perform a physical examination of your leg, investigating all possible causes of the physical symptoms you have.

Ultrasound is an invaluable diagnostic tool for many vascular conditions and can help determine the best treatment option for you. After your consultation, a duplex ultrasound will be arranged if appropriate to show both the speed of blood flow and the structure of the leg veins. This is used to confirm where the varicose veins are originating, so that the ideal treatment can be planned.

This is often all that is needed to confirm a diagnosis and to plan treatment. If this is the case, the next time you see your consultant will be for your varicose vein surgery. It is a very quick, streamlined process, and we will arrange your surgery for you at the earliest opportunity.

If your symptoms suggest any type of arterial disease, your consultant may arrange for you to have an MRI or CT scan to better assess the health of your arteries. These are both available on-site at BMI Bath Clinic and can be easily arranged if required. The results will help your consultant determine whether surgery will be required or whether referral to another specialist is needed.

Leg pain can sometimes be caused by a non-vascular problem, such as a trapped nerve in the spine or arthritic damage to a joint. For this reason, your consultant works closely with other specialists, including spinal and orthopaedic surgeons. If they suspect there is another reason for your leg pain, they will refer you to the most appropriate specialist for help.

Whatever the cause of your symptoms turns out to be, whether vascular or non-vascular, any treatment you receive at BMI Bath Clinic will always be led and delivered by a consultant.

Many people who come to us for private varicose vein surgery have private medical insurance, but we also treat a significant number of self-pay patients.

People visit us from Bath and the surrounding areas, including Bristol and South Wales.

If you are considering private varicose vein surgery, we believe you will not find a better place to come for comprehensive support, treatment, care and follow-up than BMI Bath Clinic. Here’s why:

  • Fast access to an expert – If you are considering medical help for a vascular condition, you won’t want to wait weeks (or even months!) for an initial appointment. Our vascular consultants can see you quickly, provide you with a diagnosis and get the best treatment for you arranged as soon as possible.
  • Recommended by patients – In an independent survey, 97.9% of our patients said they were likely or extremely likely to recommend us to their friends and family. We don’t take this for granted and continue to focus on delivering the highest standard of care and support for everyone who visits us for help with any vascular symptoms.
  • Convenient appointments – It is easy to arrange an appointment with a vascular surgeon, at a time that is convenient to you. When you visit us, you’ll be able to talk openly and honestly with an experienced consultant who understands the challenges and difficulties you may be having as a result of your vascular condition.
  • A multidisciplinary team (MDT) – Your consultant is supported in their work by an experienced team of healthcare professionals including radiologists, physiotherapists, anaesthetists and nurses to ensure you are well looked after throughout your time with us, whatever your treatment requirements. You will always see the most appropriate person for your needs. Where referral to another speciality is needed, such as spinal or orthopaedic surgery, this is very easily done.
  • Location – BMI Bath Clinic is located about two miles from the centre of historic Bath and is very easy to travel to by private or public transport. Our 100-space private car park is free for patients and visitors, so you won’t have to worry about where to park.
  • Facilities – The hospital is situated within a gloriously landscaped setting. While many modern hospital buildings sometimes appear quite cold and impersonal, people who visit us often comment on the historic exterior of BMI Bath Clinic, which offers a refreshingly different and personal welcome to you. As you walk through the doors, you will find yourself in a modern hospital with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities and incredibly friendly staff, all focused on helping you to access the help and support you need for your vascular condition.

We look forward to welcoming you to BMI Bath Clinic and helping you to say “goodbye” to your varicose veins!

Book your appointment with a vascular Consultant at BMI Bath Clinic online. 

Specialists Offering Vascular surgery

Mr John Steven Budd

Consultant General & Vascular Surgeon


BMI Bath Clinic

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