What are varicose veins?
Most commonly, varicose veins are superficial veins in the lower leg that have become enlarged and lumpy. The reason for the vein enlargement is that the vein valves that regulate the flow of blood stop working properly. The condition is most common in women over the age of 50 but can also occur in men. Although for some people varicose veins are a cosmetic problem, for others the veins can be painful and lead to other problems such as swollen legs and skin conditions. Suitable treatment depends on a variety of factors including your general health and the location of the varicose veins on your body.
What treatment is available for varicose veins?
The poorly functioning vein valves cannot be repaired, so the next best thing is to remove the veins that are causing the problem. The most common procedure is named ‘Ligation and Stripping’ which involves removing part or the entire large leg vein named the Saphenous Vein. Frequently, varicose veins surgery is performed as a Day Case, which means you get to go home on the same day. However, more complicated surgeries may require an overnight stay.
What happens in Ligation and Stripping?
Small incisions around 3 mm in length are made along the leg, from which the vein is removed. The number of incisions required will depend on the number and severity of the varicose veins. The blood flow in the leg is not affected as other, deeper leg veins take up the slack straight away.
Recovery at home
It could take around 3-4 weeks to fully recover from varicose vein surgery. The recovery period will depend on how quickly your wounds heal. The scarring is usually minimal and will appear as thin, white lines which will fade to near invisibility within a year.
As long as you can operate your car safely and comfortably you should be able to drive within 1 week. You should be able to return to work in around 2 weeks, depending on your job.
You may need to wear special compression stockings for a while – these help blood circulation in the legs and reduce swelling, to aid and hasten healing. There will usually be a small amount of bruising and possible groin pain, which can be treated with over-the-counter pain killers.
While you recover, gentle daily exercise such as walking is also recommended.
Long term benefits
Most people do not experience a recurrence of their varicose veins and are delighted with the results from their varicose veins surgery. However, 1 in 15 people will be expected to notice some recurrence over a period of around 10 years. In these cases, further treatment may be required. Having a previous varicose vein operation does not rule out your ability to have a varicose vein operation in the future.
About Ramsay Health Care
At Ramsay Health Care we are proud to work in partnership with some of the highest qualified and experienced consultants, ophthalmologist, orthopaedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, pain management consultants and physiotherapists in the UK. Our holistic care offers you the best treatment!
At Ramsay you won’t have to wait for an appointment for your varicose veins surgery. Your treatment may be covered by medical insurance and self-pay packages are available on request. We have first class facilities and all self-funding and most privately insured patients can enjoy our Private Patient Pledge offering exclusive benefits including superb food, a relaxing environment, priority access and appointments to suit your lifestyle. Our aim is to help you feel like a guest as well as a patient.
Please contact us for more information.