Varicose veins are swollen enlarged veins, usually affecting the legs and feet, which may be lumpy and often tortuous in appearance. They can lead to numerous symptoms including cramping pain, dry/itchy skin, leg swelling, burning or throbbing pain, as well as concerns about their cosmetic appearance. Fortunately there are a number of minimally invasive and surgical options available for the treatment of varicose veins.
Surgical treatment of varicose veins is usually reserved for cases where less invasive procedures may not be a viable option. For people suffering with symptomatic varicose veins, where conservative management has failed, and less invasive procedures are not an option, surgical treatment will usually provide a good symptomatic outcome.
Surgical treatment of varicose veins typically involves a combination of ligation and stripping, as well phlebectomies, and will normally be performed under general anaesthetic.
Ligation and stripping involves a cut in the groin area, and the top of the long saphenous vein is tied off and disconnected. Another small cut is then made just above the knee, and the length of the long saphenous vein is ‘stripped’ or removed.
Any remaining varicose veins which may be tributaries of the main long saphenous vein are then removed via multiple phlebectomies. This involves making a series of very small cuts over the varicose veins, and removing them piece by piece.
Most surgical treatments of varicose veins are performed as a day case procedure, so you will normally be home the same day. Occasionally, an overnight stay may be required, particularly if both legs are being treated simultaneously.
The risks involved with the procedure are relatively small, and people usually recover well. The specifics of what will be involved, and the risks and benefits of surgical treatment will be discussed at length, prior to any surgical intervention.
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