Services /Open Surgical
Services /Open Surgical
Surgery may be needed for some people. Usually, the results of surgery are preferable to the appearance of large varicose veins. Most scars or stains resulting from surgery are faint, but sometimes they are permanent and unsightly.
Not all surgeons use the same technique. Ask how the surgery is to be done.
About two in 10 patients who have veins treated by surgery will develop new varicose veins in the long term. The surgeon can give no guarantee that varicose veins will not come back.
Many patients ask, “Where does the blood flow after the veins have been removed?”. Most of the blood flow in the leg is through the deep veins (not touched by surgery) and not through the surface veins. Varicose veins do not function effectively when the person is standing. In fact, the veins are actually carrying blood the wrong way. Other normal veins have had to take over the function of these veins. Therefore, treating varicose veins improves the circulation in the leg.
The patient is usually admitted to hospital on the day of the procedure. If the patient has not shaved her or his legs, they will be shaved on the ward. The veins are marked by a pen before surgery.
The surgeon can carry out the operation in various ways. Some surgeons simply tie off the saphenous vein while others remove or “strip” some or all of the vein.
The surgeon will make a small cut high in the groin (for the long saphenous vein) or at the back of the knee (for the short saphenous vein). Other very small incisions are required for other surface varicose veins that are to be removed.
Making several small incisions gives a better cosmetic result than making a few large incisions. Some small veins are too small to be removed surgically and may be treated with injection sclerotherapy at a later time.
CARE AFTER SURGERY
EFFECTS OF SURGERY
While surgery on varicose veins is considered to be safe and effective, there are a few possible side effects. If you have any concerns or want to know more please contact us.
Scars usually fade, but sometimes they are permanent and unsightly. Healing and fading of scars can take a few months. Patients should not get the legs sunburnt during this time as this can make the scars worse.
Brown discolouring can occur over some of the treated area. Although the colour usually fades, sometimes it is permanent and unsightly.
Sore lumps may be due to bruises (in the space left where the veins came from) or blood clots within remaining short lengths of vein. These lumps usually shrink and lose their soreness over a few weeks.
Some nerves run close to surface veins. They may be injured during surgery, particularly when a stripping operation is performed between the knee and ankle. This may cause some numbness,“pins and needles” or, occasionally, pain. Recovery from this can be very slow, up to two years in some people, and in rare cases it is permanent.
Loss of long saphenous veins
Removal of the long saphenous vein can prevent its future use as a heart artery bypass. Therefore it is usually not removed in patients who have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or artery disease in the legs or arms. However, a badly diseased long saphenous vein is of no use for a heart artery bypass.
Side effects of anaesthesia
Modern anaesthesia is safe with few risks, however some people do have a serious reaction to anaesthetic drugs. If you have ever had a reaction to an anaesthetic drug, tell your surgeon.
Complications after surgery
Fortunately, serious problems after surgery are uncommon.
Infection may occur in wounds, especially in patients who have ulcers.
Blood clots can occur in the deep veins.