Varicose veins treatment
Aka: Varicose veins removal, Vein Duplex Ultrasound, Endovenous Thermal Ablation (endovenous laser treatment or radiofrequency ablation), foam sclerotherapy, VNUS Closure™, EVLA|
What is it?
A good varicose vein treatment plan kicks off a Vein Duplex Ultrasound performed by a vascular technologist - this maps which veins are working and what’s going on with the ones that aren’t.
The old-fashioned strip and tie method has given way to new keyhole techniques such as VNUS Closure™, lasers, perforator vein treatments, ambulatory phlebectomy and several sorts of injections.
What to expect?
Typically a 30 minute procedure under local anesthetic, although general anesthetic is also offered for some procedures. Pain is minimal (but beware the stinging sensation of the lasers!).
Results are seen in a week once swelling has subsided. The teeny 2mm keyhole incisions heal quickly without scarring. Some people need only one treatment, but if the veins are more complex up to five treatments a week apart may be required.
Varicose veins treatment cost?
From £300 for a simple vein injection up to £5,000 for complex bilateral veins on both legs
Risks and side effects
Side effects of varicose vein surgery are mostly mild and temporary, and include minor bruising, a small amount of bleeding and small scars that fade over time.
Possible complications include damage to nerves, resulting in numbness or sensitivity, this normally resolves within weeks or months.
Small patches of brown skin discoloration or areas of thread veins are possible and hard tender lumps can form along the line where the removed vein was, these usually resolve in a few weeks.
In rare cases keloid scars can form and there is also a small occurrence of damage to the deeper veins in the leg, requiring further surgery.
Recurrence of vascular veins following varicose vein surgery is very common, and according to vascular expert Mark Whiteley, it is a result of new vein formations, inadequate surgical correction or poor surgical technique.
The risk of recurrence can be eliminated by checking your surgeon uses VNUS and intra-operative ultrasound. Successful vein surgery with long-lasting results requires an expert surgeon so do your homework.
Mr. Ian Franklin, vascular surgeon and a specialist in vascular and endovascular surgery at London’s Cadogan Clinic
“Make sure you choose a surgeon who has access to all the different treatments and isn’t restricted by training or experience to a single or narrow selection of techniques. For example, some surgeons only do laser or only do foam treatments, which might not be right for your veins. At the Cadogan Clinic we’re lucky to be able to offer the full range of treatments.”
Dr Mark Whiteley, consultant surgeon, vascular specialist and director of The Whiteley Clinic
"To get the best treatments, our vein experts offer all their procedures under local anesthetic as a walk-in walk-out operation, and use a combination of treatments such as laser (EVLA), radiofrequency and foam injections - the combination is tailored to each individuals’ vein problems.
"In particular, women who have given birth vaginally may have a different sort of varicose vein that comes from the pelvis and can cause varicose veins in the vulva. These are special cases and need a special scan, and can be treated by coils placed precisely under x-ray control."
Ask your surgeon:
Will you be using Vein Duplex Ultrasound? And, do you have access to all the different treatments?
You may also be interested in...