Are you troubled with painful, itchy leg veins or simply fed up with their unsightly appearance? At Kingsbridge Private Hospital our team of Vascular Surgeons are here to help.
Varicose vein surgery can remove varicose veins which are enlarged and twisted veins in the leg affecting both men and women. They tend to run in families and can become worse during pregnancy.
People who stand a lot in their daily life or are required to stand for long periods during work can also develop varicose veins.
Research shows that varicose veins affect about one third of people at some point in their life.
15-20% of adults in the UK have bulging varicose veins while 15-20% have hidden varicose veins. In most cases there is no obvious cause and the condition is rarely associated with any serious illness. There is thought to be a genetic tendency involving some degree of inherited weakness in the vein wall.
There are various factors which are often thought to be associated with varicose veins.
Varicose veins can develop when the small valves inside the veins stop functioning properly. In a healthy vein, blood flows smoothly to the heart.
There are two main types of veins in your legs:
When blood doesn't flow properly from the superficial veins to your deep veins, pressure can build up and varicose veins can occur, this is due to valves in the leg or pelvic veins not working properly.
Valves are designed to let blood flow one way. The blood is prevented from flowing backwards by a series of tiny valves that open and close to let blood through. However, if the valves are damaged or weakened then blood may not flow correctly and can collect in the vein, eventually causing it to be swollen and enlarged (varicose) becoming visible.
The following activities can help ease the symptoms of varicose veins:
Whilst these activities may help some patients and ease their condition, varicose veins will not go away without treatment and symptomatic varicose veins tend to get worse with time. Possible complications can include inflammation (thrombophlebitis), swelling, skin discolouration and bleeding.
It has been proven that earlier treatment of symptomatic varicose veins produces a better clinical outcome and cosmetic results.
Symptoms of varicose veins can vary from person to person. Some people don't have any symptoms at all.
If you do have symptoms, they may include:
These symptoms may be caused by problems other than varicose veins. A GP can help you diagnose if you have varicose veins based on the symptoms presented. At Kingsbridge Hospital we provide same day appointments at our Private GP Service.
Complications of varicose veins include the following:
A Doppler test - This is an ultrasound technique that uses sound waves to produce an image of the inside of your leg. It will give your doctor information about the direction of blood flow in your vein and whether your valves are working properly.
An ultrasound scan (duplex) - This will allow your doctor to examine your deep veins in detail.
Telangiectasia varicose veins - Telangiectasia varicose veins are commonly known as thread veins or spider veins, are small clusters of blue or red veins that sometimes appear on your face or legs. They are harmless and, unlike trunk varicose veins, do not bulge underneath the surface of the skin. You may wish to have them treated to improve the cosmetic appearance of the area affected.
Trunk varicose veins - Trunk varicose veins are near to the surface of the skin and are thick and knobbly. They are usually visible, often quite long and can look unpleasant.
Reticular varicose veins - Reticular varicose veins are red and are sometimes grouped close together in a network
In the past varicose veins were only treated if they were really causing problems. Since 2013, however, new guidance from NICE says that all patients suffering from varicose veins and who are experiencing discomfort (itching, swelling, aching, heaviness) or visual signs (pigmentation, eczema, leg ulcers) should be referred to a vascular consultant.
Varicose veins can not only be painful but for many men and women, pronounced varicose veins can affect confidence.
Varicose veins treatment is usually performed under a general anaesthetic. Varicose vein surgery usually takes between twenty minutes and two and a half hours.
If your varicose veins don't cause you any discomfort, you may decide not to have any treatment. If your veins do cause discomfort or if you want treatment for cosmetic reasons, then our surgeons at Kingsbridge Private Hospital offer the latest techniques in varicose veins treatment.
During your consultation, all aspects of surgery will be discussed with you and you can rest assured that any concerns or questions you have will be answered.
If your varicose veins don't cause you any discomfort, you may decide not to have any treatment. However, if your veins do cause you discomfort or if you want treatment for cosmetic reasons then our surgeons at Kingsbridge Private Hospital offer the latest techniques in varicose veins treatment.
There are a number of modern techniques used to treat varicose veins. This involves the closure of the veins using injected foam or applied heat energy through a small skin incision. These techniques have the advantage in that they can be carried out under local anaesthetic and rarely require overnight stay. Most patients will be able to walk immediately afterwards and can resume normal activities in 1 to 2 days.
These treatments include:
Larger veins often require surgical removal under general or spinal anaesthesia. Depending on the extent of your veins and your occupation, you may need to take between one to two weeks off work to recover.
In surgery, superficial veins that have become varicose veins are removed. The veins that are situated deep within your legs will take over the role of the damaged veins.
There are many types of operation depending on which veins need treated. Your surgeon at Kingsbridge Private Hospital will provide you with advice on which operation is best for you.
A common operation is ligation and stripping. In this operation, your surgeon will tie off the faulty vein to stop any blood flowing through it and then remove it. You may have phlebectomy with ligation and stripping to remove the smaller surface veins that lie under your skin. In this operation, your surgeon will use hooks to pull out your varicose veins through small cuts in your leg.
Although many people won't need any further treatment after surgery, it’s possible that new varicose veins can form.
Please note that all your options will be discussed in depth at your consultation with our experienced Vascular Consultants. We provide a full assessment service with clinical examination and ultrasound.
After your treatment at Kingsbridge Private Hospital you should no longer have varicose veins, and any symptoms you had should be improved. Varicose vein surgery should also help prevent complications that varicose veins may cause and the general appearance of the area where the varicose veins were present.
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