Varicose veins are enlarged tortuous veins commonly found in the lower limb. They are a multi-factorial condition, but the end result is the same, discomfort in the affected area and potentially unsightly veins. Although they don’t usually carry severe health problems, there are practical solutions to treating varicose veins.
Why Do Varicose Veins Need Treating?
The aim of treatment for varicose veins is mainly to relieve pain symptoms and prevent further complications, such as ulcers or sores, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and bleeding. On top of this, varicose veins can affect self-esteem as you may be very self-conscious about how you look.
Removing Varicose Veins – How Does it Work?
There are various methods through which varicose veins can be removed, and your doctor will be well-placed to advise you on the best route to take for their removal. Standard removal methods include:
- Radiofrequency ablation – A small tube (catheter) is placed into the offending veins in the leg; this produces a small concentrated amount of heat to damage the vein to the point that blood can no longer flow through it. The heat is concentrated to cause minimal damage to any surrounding tissue.
- Foam sclerotherapy – A standard method for helping reduce varicose veins. Foam sclerotherapy is carried out under local anaesthetic and day-case procedures; it involves your surgeon using foam into the problematic veins under ultrasound and blocking off these veins, preventing blood from flowing in them. The reduction in blood flow means they shrink and disappear all being well. As a result, the blood flows through other veins deeper in the leg without affecting its overall circulation.
- Endovenous laser therapy EVLA – Involves a thin tube laser thread inserted into the offending veins through a small incision. This then ‘heats’ the vein from inside, causing it to scar and block, preventing further blood flow (blood flows through collateral and other veins).
What Are The Risks of Removing Varicose Veins?
Varicose vein removal, much like all other forms of surgery, be they minor or major, comes with some risks which should be considered and discussed with the surgeon before undergoing treatment:
- Bleeding, bruising, deep vein thrombosis (blood clots)
- Failure to work
- Discolouration of the skin
How Much Does it Cost to Remove Varicose Veins?
- Privately, the average cost for varicose vein treatment from a reputable clinic or surgeon can be between £1,500-£3,500 depending on the type of treatment, and now many veins are targeted.
- This treatment is often available on the NHS. However, the veins treated are usually at high risk of causing life-threatening complications.