Varicose Vein Removal
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Varicose Veins at Harley Medical
What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are blood vessels which have become swollen, enlarged and twisted. They look like blue or purple lumps or bumps on the surface of the skin, commonly found on the legs. There are a number of factors which can increase your likelihood of developing varicose veins, including genetics, gender, ageing, weight, pregnancy and levels of physical activity.
Varicose veins are caused by defective valves within the vein which prevent blood from circulating properly, causing the vein to become enlarged and misshapen.
Symptoms of Varicose Veins include:
- Aching, heavy and uncomfortable legs
- Swollen feet and ankles
- Burning or throbbing in your legs
- Muscle cramp in your legs, particularly at night
- Dry, itchy and thin skin over the affected vein
The symptoms are usually worse during warm weather or if you've been standing up for long periods of time. They may improve when you walk around or if you rest and raise your legs.
What to expect from the Procedure
Patient Coordinator will be the first team member you will meet with as you begin your surgical journey. They will answer some initial questions regarding your treatment. During this meeting you will discuss The Harley Medical Group services and the generic aspects of your treatment. This includes explaining the process from the surgeon’s clinical consultation to the treatment day itself, as well as aftercare and post operation recovery.
Other topics you will be able to discuss at the stage include:
- Completing a patient medical history form for presentation to the surgeon.
- Pre and post-operative photographs of previous patients should you wish.
- Your patient coordinator will clearly explain the fee structure and all associated financial issues and options available to you.
Having booked your consultation with the Patient Coordinator your next step will be to meet your surgeon. The consultation with your surgeon or doctor is designed to ensure that you have the time to discuss all aspects of the treatment you are considering and other options or concerns if appropriate.
To achieve this aim expect your surgeon or doctor might discuss:
- Your medical and family history in detail and request relevant tests for the surgery you are seeking.
- Your expectations and what can realistically be achieved through treatment.
- Photograph the area that you are considering for surgery. May be taken during your pre-operative screening.
- Recommend the treatment most suited to your needs and to achieve your aims.
- Explain the potential complications and dangers of any form of surgery and anaesthesia that is to be used.
Following this discussion and examination, the surgeon or doctor may decide it is not in your best medical interest to proceed with surgery. If for any reason the surgeon's discussion and clinical consultation with you falls short of your expectations, your Patient Coordinator will be happy to arrange for you to meet with another surgeon or doctor for a further opinion.
What is the process?
EVLA is a minimally invasive “endothermal ablation” treatment for varicose veins. It has been approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). EVLA is performed under a local anaesthetic, and only requires a small wound to be made at the access site of the treated leg. A laser is used to obliterate (seal) the faulty vein, and you will be able to go home on the day of treatment.
The Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) is a minimally invasive “endothermal ablation” treatment for varicose veins. EVLA is performed under a local anaesthetic. The Surgery only requires a small access wound to be made on the leg being treated, and you will be able to go home on the day of treatment.
During the procedure an ultrasound scan will be performed on your leg to mark the position of the veins intended for treatment. Then an injection will freeze the skin and a small flexible wire will be passed inside the vein within a sheath. A radial laser fibre is passed through the sheath and into the vein. The position of the laser will be monitored through ultrasound. A local anaesthetic solution is injected around the vein, along its length to insulate the leg from the endothermal energy. The laser uses radial energy to seal the vein from the inside in just a few minutes.
Occasionally, in order to improve the results of your treatment, the surgeon may also inject some of your veins with a foam solution designed to obliterate veins that cannot be treated with the laser. These injections can leave a brownish discolouration in place of the vein, but this almost always disappears within 12-months.
Once the vein has been sealed, the laser fibre is removed and a bandage applied to the leg.
Before your surgeon or doctor discharges you from hospital or the clinic you will be given a post-operative instruction sheet explaining what to do and what to avoid doing following your procedure. It is essential to your recovery following surgery that you attend the scheduled post-operative appointments with both the Clinic Nurse and your Surgeon or Doctor.
You will be advised if it is necessary for you to wear support garments such as a stocking to aid your post treatment recovery. Bandages should be kept on for 48 hours, and then a support stocking should be worn for a further 5 days.
There will be swelling and bruising, or hardness following treatment and in the immediate post-operative recovery period. Twinges and pain may continue for the first few weeks following treatment. If you experience severe or increasing pain, contact your clinic nurse or the advised out of hours contact number.
A follow up appointment will be made for a post-surgery review either the next day or within a few days to assess healing progress. As mentioned, foam injections can leave a brownish stain that can take up to 12 months to fade. There will be swelling after the treatment. The real benefits of your procedure will not be visible until after the initial swelling caused by the treatment has completely gone.
We want to ensure you are aware of the immediate results which may not reflect expectations. Veins in or around the treated area may become more noticeable on the skin surface but these rarely cause symptoms and become less prominent with time. Our friendly members of staff will be with you every step of the way to ensure that you have all the support you need to aid your recovery.
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