Surgical treatment for varicose veins

Surgery is recommended in cases of severe varicose veins. If other forms of treatment have been tried but to no avail then surgery is often the only answer.

Your GP will refer you to a vascular surgeon if he/she feels that this is your best option.

There are two types of surgical procedures for varicose veins which include:

Both of these are discussed in more detail within this section.

Referral for surgery

Surgery is advised in cases where:

  • A leg ulcer has developed and is worsening in spite of non-surgical treatment.
  • Bleeding from a broken varicose vein
  • Risk of bleeding from a varicose vein which has previously occurred.
  • Several episodes of inflamed veins (thrombophlebitis)
  • Varicose veins are impacting upon your quality of life

If you are experiencing problems caused by your varicose veins then consider having surgery.

It is a good idea to ask your GP questions about surgery before he/she refers you to a vascular surgeon.

Questions to ask about surgery

You may find it helpful to write down a list of questions to ask so that you do not forget anything important which you may remember later on. Ask as many questions and as often as you need to and make a note of the answers if need be.

Here are a few suggestions:

    • How long will I be on a waiting list for surgery?
    • Who will perform my operation?
    • How long will the operation take?
    • Will I have to take time off work?
    • Will it hurt?
    • Will I be treated as a day patient or do I have to remain in hospital overnight?
    • Will I need more than one operation?
    • What are the risks of surgery?

Your GP or vascular surgeon will be able to answer these and any other questions you have.

Surgery will be performed under a general anaesthetic although you may be able to return home on the same day. The one exception to this is if you are having surgery on both legs which will mean an overnight stay.

If this is the case then arrange for someone, for example your partner, relative or close friend to drive you home after the operation. A general anaesthetic can leave you feeling "woozy", nauseous and disorientated so driving, performing any complicated tasks or making a legal decision is not recommended.

Guide to Varicose Veins

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