What does varicose veins surgery normally involve?

surgery-2The two main varicose vein removal procedures are ligation and stripping and sclerotherapy. Other varicose veins treatments are available, but these are the most common surgical procedures. Surgery will usually only be carried out if you are experiencing pain and you have large varicose veins.

Ligation and stripping

Ligation and stripping involves tying off a vein and then removing it. The varicose vein removal procedure involves making 2 small incisions, one in the groin near the top of the vein and one further down the leg. The top of the vein is tied up and then sealed by the surgeon and a fine, flexible wire is passed through the bottom of the varicose vein and removed through the second incision at the bottom of the leg. The procedure is usually carried out under general anaesthetic, which means you will not feel anything.
After the operation, it can take a short period of time for the anaesthetic to wear off and nurses and doctors will monitor your condition. When they are happy you will be able to go home, but you will need to set up for someone to give you a lift. After varicose vein treatment it will take between 1 and 3 weeks for you to be back to normal, so you will need to take time off work and take it easy.

Ligation and stripping is a safe procedure and complications are rare, however, patients may experience bruising and pain after the operation. Talk to your physician like the caring ones at The Private Clinic and everything will be explained.


surgery-3Sclerotherapy involves sealing veins shut by injecting a chemical into the veins. The injection causes the vein to scar, which seals it closed. If you have large veins, you may be directed to have foam sclerotherapy, which involves using foam rather than a liquid. The injection is guided into the affected vein by ultrasound and the procedure is carried out under local anaesthetic. Medication will also be used to numb the affected area.

After the procedure, you may feel lethargic so it is recommended to get somebody to take you home and stay with you until you have completely come around from the anaesthetic. The varicose veins should start to fade within a few weeks but the treatment is not effective in every case. Side-effects of sclerotherapy include headaches, back pain, fainting and changes to the colour of the skin.

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