Varicose Veins

An introduction to varicose veins

Varicose veins are enlarged, prominent veins that most commonly develop in the leg. They develop when the valves that direct the flow of blood weaken and stop closing properly. This leads to blood flowing backwards and collecting in the veins. The valves become even weaker under this pressure, start to protrude and become visible through the skin – an effect we know as varicose veins.

They can be caused by factors such as:

  • Weight gain
  • Pregnancy
  • Ageing
  • A hereditary tendency

Whilst most people find varicose veins unsightly and often uncomfortable, it is rare that they lead to any serious health problems. However, they will not vanish on their own and may lead to itchiness, swelling, inflammation and pain.

Luckily, varicose vein treatment is a relatively straight forward procedure. In the UK, more than 50,000 procedures take place every year and treatment sessions typically take under an hour.

If you feel that you might benefit from varicose vein surgery, contact our team to book a consultation. We can discuss with you the various forms of treatment and advise on what is the best route to take for your particular situation.

Varicose veins – common questions answered

What sort of symptoms do varicose veins have?

The main reason people wish to remove their varicose veins is for cosmetic purposes – they are often considered unsightly and can affect self-esteem, confidence and the ability to wear certain clothes. However, they can also cause fatigue, sluggishness, swelling and some people can suffer from itching, burning, aching and cramps.

In extreme cases, blood clots and leg ulcers have been formed as a result of varicose veins.

What are the treatment options?

Treatment for varicose veins varies according to your individual situation.

If you suffer from mild varicose veins, a spider-web effect under the skin, you may be able to have these treated with Sclerotherapy, which involves a simple injection into the affected vein. This procedure seals veins by injecting them with a chemical called a sclerosant via a fine needle. The body will divert the blood to other, healthier veins and the varicose vein is redundant and shrivels away. It may take several sessions of Sclerotherapy to complete your varicose vein treatment and you will be able to walk away within an hour of your treatment.

For patients with more severe cases of varicose veins you can be treated with Endovenous laser therapy (EVLT). Using this minimally invasive procedure, the heat of the laser eliminates the problematic vein without the need for any of the incisions associated with traditional varicose vein surgery.

What can I expect after varicose vein EVLT surgery?

EVLT surgery is carried out as day-case surgery, so you will be able to return home later that day. You may experience some itching, redness or a small amount of swelling or bruising from the injections. However, these side effects commonly disperse within one or two days.

We recommend avoiding strenuous physical activity and exercise as well as heavy lifting for the first few days following treatment.

A vital element of the recovery process is to wear special compression stockings, provided by the hospital. This could be for up to six weeks – your consultant will ensure you are aware of the specified amount of time before you leave the hospital.

Does varicose vein surgery cause any pain?

Depending on the severity of your veins, you may need a general or local anaesthetic, or even a combination of the two. You may experience some tingling or a slight burning sensation but the majority of patients experience very little pain at all. Sclerotherapy treatment can and is typically performed without anaesthetic.

When will I see improvement in my varicose veins?

This can vary from person to person but is typically within one or two weeks.

Will there be any scarring as a result of the treatment?

Depending on the treatment and technique used there can be no scarring at all or absolute minimal scarring that will fade with time.

Varicose Veins Consultants

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