Varicose veins are veins that become prominent due to weakened valves, causing blood to back up rather than flow freely. Although varicose veins can cause inflammation and discomfort, particularly for those who spend long times standing as part of their job, most seek treatment for cosmetic reasons.
Certain things can increase your chances of developing varicose veins, including pregnancy, aging or weight gain. Whatever the reason, these unsightly lumps are likely to be a visible nuisance affecting your confidence and restricting what you can wear.
However, varicose veins are easy to treat, with over 50,000 minimally invasive and virtually pain-free operations performed in the UK each year. With varicose vein surgery you can banish bulging veins from legs, or get rid of spider or thread veins in just an hour. So, you can be confident enough to wear shorts or skirts and reveal your legs without having to worry about how they look.
There are a number of treatment options available that will reduce and close your varicose veins and the blood will reroute through the healthy vessels. The appropriate available options will be made clear during your consultation and your consultant will advise you on the most appropriate treatment for you.
What are the symptoms of varicose veins?
Symptoms of varicose veins include discomfort, aching, heaviness, fatigue, burning, throbbing and cramps. Without treatment, skin around the ankles can become irritated and feet can swell, as well as cause itching, pain, leg ulcers and skin damage. In some cases blood clots develop, which can pose a serious risk.
What happens in varicose vein surgery?
This depends on the type of treatment you receive. For superficial veins or thread veins with no major valve problem, sclerotherapy may be the best option. A chemical substance called a sclerosant is injected into the vein through a fine needle. This causes the walls to glue together and the vein to shrivel up. The vessel then turns to scar tissue and fades.
In foam sclerotherapy, small volumes of sclerosant are made into a foam to treat larger underlying veins. A few treatment sessions may be required using sclerotherapy, depending on the number of veins.
How long is the recovery time following varicose vein surgery?
The procedures take less than an hour, meaning you can walk away and return to your normal daily activities straight away after the treatment. Some may experience itching or a raised red area, and possible some swelling at bruising at the place where you were injected. These should all disappear within a couple of days.
You will also need to refrain from taking part in any strenuous activities – such as exercise, sport or heavy lifting – for a few days after your treatment.
Do I have to wear special stockings?
Following post vein surgery it is vital that you wear compression stockings. These will need to be worn for up to 6 weeks, your consultant will explain the details to you. The compression stockings are provided from the hospital.
Will the surgery hurt?
Varicose vein surgery is minimally invasive and conducted under local anaesthetic, meaning you will hardly feel anything during the procedure. The most you are likely to experience is a slight burning or tingling sensation. Most patients say that the treatment is painless and not uncomfortable.
Will I have scars and how long before I see visible improvement?
As the treatment is minimally invasive, you will not have any visible scars. You’ll notice improvements to the look of the problem area in one to two weeks.