For many people, varicose veins are merely an inconvenience as they look unattractive.
However, for some individuals, varicose veins can be painful and cause throbbing and aching legs. They can actually also cause inflammation, bleeding, and ulcers.
Sometimes surgical intervention is required.
Below we highlight 10 varicose surgery facts to help you be more informed about varicose vein surgery and the benefits and risks that are involved.
Varicose Vein Surgery
If you are pregnant or had a recent pregnancy, then it is advisable that you wait at least 6 weeks post birth to have any surgery.
It is due to the fact that many of the varicose veins that occurred during pregnancy will fade. If not, then surgery may be considered.
2. Prior to surgery
Various pre-operative tests need to be carried out. One will be the use of a handheld Doppler to check for blood flow in the leg.
Many clinicians may also carry out an ultrasound scan which is slightly more accurate. An ECG may also be done as well as routine blood tests.
These tests are performed not long before your planned operation date.
Most surgical operations are carried out as an outpatient. Surgery requires a general anaesthetic although some surgical procedures can be carried out under local anaesthesia.
Recovery from the operation usually takes anywhere from 1-4 weeks. The most common complaint is leg pain which can be dealt with the use of pain medications.
Avulsion surgery requires several small incisions that allows the removal of varicose veins. The incision is usually around 1mm only and will not require stitches thereafter.
The operation is not usually painful where after a few weeks, it is hard to tell where the incisions were made.
This type of surgery is more invasive and is used for larger and deeper veins. It requires two incisions, one at the knee and the other at the groin.
A tunneling instrument is used in order to pull or ‘strip’ the vein out. There will be scars from the incision as well as bruising, post operatively, but they will fade after a few weeks.
6. Laser surgery
Laser surgery, also known as endovenous laser surgery, destroys the vein via the use of a laser.
This does not require the use of general aesthetic, but instead a local aesthetic is administered on the area of the skin that needs to be treated.
The whole procedure takes around 45 minutes. There are very little chances for any side effects apart from mild bruising.
7. Radiofrequency ablation
This is very similar to laser surgery but heat is used instead of laser.
Ultrasound is used to correctly place the probe into the vein and heat is administered. This then destroys the affected vein.
The whole procedure is carried out under local anesthetic and takes around 30 minutes.
8. Vein Ligation
This is an older type of surgical treatment but is still used today.
An incision is made in the groin in order to tie off the saphenous vein so that the vein can be removed.
This surgery is quite invasive and is performed under general anaesthetic.
As with any surgery, there always exist a risk. There may be a risk of bleeding or a risk where the site of incision becomes infected.
Inflammation and swelling can also occur, although these are usually short lived.
With the removal of larger varicose veins, it can also mean a potential risk of permanent scars.
10. Post operative care
When you have had an invasive surgery, you will need to wear pressure bandages for 48 hours in order to help stop bleeding.
Stockings can be worn for up to 10 days which can be also helpful to prevent bruising.
Other than a little tenderness, there should be no other side effects. Regular analgesics can help with any onset of pain.
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