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Veins carry blood around your body and are an important part of our circulatory system. However, sometimes valves become weak and this can cause blood flow to back up in veins, resulting in prominent and unsightly varicose veins that are visible and protrude from under the skin.
Although varicose veins rarely pose a significant risk to your health, they can greatly affect your self-esteem due to their appearance. They can also become inflamed, especially for people that may spend a long time on their feet.
Varicose veins can form as a result of pregnancy, ageing, weight gain or natural causes. However, they will not disappear by themselves and may just get worse if left untreated.
Varicose vein surgery is a minimally invasive and relatively pain-free procedure that can help rid you of these unsightly and uncomfortable veins. Over 50,000 operations take place every year in the UK and the treatment sessions are short – typically no more than an hour.
The options for treating varicose veins will be dependent on your own requirements and physical condition. When you book a consultation, our highly trained medical team will talk you through the procedures and advise you on what is the best choice for you.
Varicose veins are highly visible veins that can clearly be seen through the skin. They can cause you to feel fatigued and heavy as well as cause uncomfortable feelings of burning, throbbing and cramping.
In some cases, skin complaints can occur as well as swelling of the lower legs, feet and ankles. In severe cases, varicose veins have been known to contribute to the formation of blood clots and ulcers.
There are several courses of action when it comes to treating varicose veins, but one of the typical procedures is known as sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy is particularly effective at treating superficial thread and spider veins. A chemical called a sclerosant is injected into the veins with a fine needle, causing them to seal up. Your blood will naturally begin to flow through healthier veins and the varicose veins will disappear.
When treating bigger veins, foam sclerotherapy may be used. This involves small amounts of the sclerosant turned into a foam formula and is better suited for treating deeper veins. It could take more than one session of sclerotherapy to treat your varicose veins but this can vary according to the extent of the treatment you require.
Sometimes, when treating larger veins, a procedure called Venefit – or Venefit Targeted Endovenus Therapy, to use its full name – can be effective. Formerly known as VNUS Closure, this technique involves inserting a slim catheter directly into the valve so that the vein can be heated using radio-frequency energy. This type of treatment causes the vein to break down and close up.
Everybody is different but the usual time it takes to see the effects of your varicose vein treatment is one to two weeks.
Varicose vein surgery is minimally invasive and usually pain free. As a result you will be able to walk as soon as the treatment is over and although we recommend taking it easy for a few days after surgery, you can resume normal activity in an hour.
Side effects may include itching with some swelling or bruising, but this rarely lasts for more than a couple of days.
Even though you are free to resume normal, daily activities, we recommend you avoid overly exerting yourself or any heavy lifting.
You will be given compression stockings by the hospital and it is essential that you wear them according to the instructions your consultant gives you.
The treatment is carried out under local anaesthetic so it is unlikely you will feel anything. Occasionally you may experience tingling or mild burning but the majority of cases are painless.
You will not have any scars as a result of the treatment.