What varicose vein treatments are available?

Mr Jeremy Perkins, Consultant Vascular Surgeon

Mr Jeremy Perkins varicose veinsWhat are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are very common, affecting around 30% of the population, particularly older people, pregnant women and those who may be overweight.

The veins usually occur in the legs and are dark purple or blue and appear raised and bulging. Symptoms may include a burning and throbbing sensation, aches and pains, muscle cramps, itching and swelling of the legs.

 

What causes varicose veins?

They can be hereditary, but may also be caused by other factors, including standing or sitting for long periods of time, lack of regular exercise, weight gain and pregnancy. Normally, one-way valves keep blood flowing upwards from the legs to the heart. When these don’t work as they should, blood collects in the legs and builds up pressure, causing the veins to become weakened, enlarged and sometimes twisted.

How can the symptoms be relieved?

Home treatments can help to relieve the symptoms and slow down progress. These include:

  • wearing compressions socks or stockings to help improve circulation
  • elevating the legs when resting or sleeping
  • losing weight or keeping at a healthy weight
  • avoiding long periods of sitting or standing.

When should I consider surgery?

It’s very rare for varicose veins to cause major health issues or circulation problems. However, you may wish to have them removed to relieve discomfort or for cosmetic reasons.

What varicose vein treatments are available?

The veins can be treated through non-surgical methods such as endothermal ablation, in which radio waves or lasers are used to seal the veins, or sclerotherapy, where the veins are closed using foam. They can also be removed through surgery (litigation and stripping), in which the varicose veins are tied off to stop the blood flow, before being removed. This is usually done under general anaesthetic but with the patient able to go home the same day.

What should I do next?

In the first instance, if your varicose veins are causing you pain or affecting your daily life in other ways, such as through disrupted sleep, you should visit your GP, who can check on the severity of your condition, request tests as necessary and provide practical advice. Treatments on the NHS are only available if you have complications such as ulcers or blood clots. However, if this is not available, you can still self-pay for treatment, for medical or cosmetic reasons, in a private hospital, such as The Foscote Hospital.

You can book an initial consultation (guide price £150-£250) with Mr Perkins at The New Foscote Hospital Limited on 01295 252281.

Further information

You can find further information on Mr Jeremy Perkins and the vascular surgery procedures available at The Foscote Hospital, together with guide prices.

More general information on the condition and different types of treatments can be found on the Circulation Foundation website www.circulationfoundation.org.uk