Surgery

The surgical treatment involves an operation usually under general or regional anaesthetic to remove the varicose veins.

Once the major areas of valvular failure are identified with ultrasound and the varicose veins are marked for removal, an incision is made in the groin or behind the knee depending on the site of the major valvular problem. The major junctions are isolated and tied off at these sites and the main vein (great saphenous or small saphenous) is removed by a stripping operation. Short 3mm incisions are then used to remove the larger ropier varicose veins. The legs are then bandaged and the patient will be required to wear a class 2 graduated compression stocking for up to 4 weeks. The stocking is usually worn constantly for the first week and just during the daytime for the ensuing weeks.

The recovery from this surgery involves gentle walking initially and a programme of gradual increase in activity over a week is recommended. An overnight stay in hospital is all that is usually required and patients usually require approximately 1 week off work or any heavy activities to allow for early healing. Resumption of normal activities will usually require 7 – 10 days recovery time.