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Varicose veins

Ligation and stripping surgical treatment for varicose veins


What does ligation & stripping involve?

One of the most popular surgical techniques for varicose veins is known as ligation and stripping.
Ligation is the surgical procedure of tying off a varicose vein.
Stripping is the process of removing a long section of varicose vein through small incisions.

A cut is made near the groin, at the top of the varicose vein, and another cut is made further down the leg. A thin wire is passed through the vein before carefully being pulled out through the lower cut. Blood flow isn’t affected as deeper veins take over the work.

The duration of the surgery will depend on the number of veins that need removing. It is performed under general or spinal anaesthetic so you won’t feel anything.

How long is the recovery period?

Most ligation and stripping operations are day cases so you’ll be able to return home the same or following day. You’ll need to rest for between one and three weeks, depending on your general health and the type of work you do.

Nevertheless, during the recovery phase you should go for short, regular walks to reduce pressure in the veins, increase blood flow and reduce the risk of clotting.

There will be some bruising and swelling which painkillers can help with, and you’ll have to wear compression stockings for at least two weeks after surgery. Depending on the gravity of your varicose veins, you might have to wear stockings on a permanent basis.

The tiny scars from the surgery will fade to white marks in a few months and will be hardly noticeable.

Who can have this done?

As ligation and stripping is an invasive procedure, it isn’t suitable (or necessary) for everyone. Your doctor will be able to advise whether the benefits outweigh the disadvantages and the risk of complications.

How much does it cost?

The procedure is free on the NHS and from around £1,500 per leg if you go private.


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