Varicose veins are enlarged lumpy veins in the leg. Veins contain many one-way valves to help the upward flow of blood back to the heart. If the valves fail to work properly, blood can flow in the wrong direction, causing the veins to swell with blood and form varicose veins. A varicose vein appears engorged or twisted, and is usually blue or dark purple colour on the skin. Varicose veins do not tend to get better without treatment, and usually get worse with time.
Varicose vein surgery
Varicose veins surgery is usually performed under a general anaesthetic as a day case, although an overnight stay may be required if both legs are operated on. The operation usually takes about an hour/leg.
Your surgeon will disconnect the superficial veins from the deep veins in your legs through a cut in your groin or the back of your knee. If it is the groin vein it will be stripped with a long wire. There will be further small cuts to remove any other prominent veins.
The surgeon will introduce a specialised catheter into the vein through a needle. The catheter is passed up into the main vein to the valve in the groin or behind your knee. An ultrasound scanner is used to position the catheter accurately. The catheter produces heat using radiofrequency energy which seals the vein. The sealed vein is eventually replaced with scar tissue.
Multiple small cuts may still be used to remove any other prominent veins.
Varicose veins surgery can be performed under local or general anaesthetic as a day case, although an overnight stay may be required if both legs are operated on.
When will I recover?
You should be able to go home later on the same day and you may be able to get back to work the next day depending on the severity of your veins. Most people can go back to work within two to three days but some may take a little longer. You will need to wear support stockings for one to two weeks.