Varicose Veins

Professor McWhinnie has over 25 years’ experience in vascular surgery. He is trained in several techniques for varicose surgery.

What are varicose veins?


Varicose veins are swollen and enlarged veins that usually occur on the legs and feet. They may be blue or dark purple, and are often lumpy, bulging or twisted in appearance. Symptoms can include: aching, heavy and uncomfortable legs, swollen feet and ankles, burning or throbbing in your legs, muscle cramp in your legs, particularly at night, dry, itchy and thin skin over the affected vein. There may be no symptoms.




What is the treatment for varicose veins?


There are several options for the treatment of varicose veins including; surgical ligation, foam sclerotherapy injection, laser treatment and radio frequency ablation. The options will be discussed with you at your consultation and you will be advised as to the best treatment for your specific case. Support stockings can provide relief from the symptoms of aching from varicose veins but will not eliminate the veins.




What are the benefits of surgery?


After the removal of varicose veins, both symptoms and appearance will be improved. Varicose vein surgery does not eliminate thread veins and these should be discussed prior to treatment.




Are there any risks involved?


There are risks involved with any surgery. You will often need a general anaesthetic for your operation and you will be seen by an anaesthetist prior to surgery. Possible adverse outcomes will be discussed with you prior to you signing your consent form for surgery. Complications after varicose vein surgery are uncommon. Recurrence of varicose veins occurs in about 1 in 15 patients.




How long will I be in hospital for?


Varicose vein surgery is usually performed as a day case.




When can I return to normal activities?


It is important that you start to mobilise gently immediately after surgery. Most people return to work within one to two weeks although in some patients a feeling of fatigue can persist for up to 3 weeks. Please avoid vigorous exercise, for 10 to 15 days. You will have some plastic dressings on your wound. These will fall off after about 10 days. You can wash your body, but keep your wounds completely dry for the first 24 hours after your surgery. Avoid having a bath or swimming within the first week, as soaking your wounds in water increases the likelihood of infection. You may have a shower within this time, but please avoid the water spraying directly on your wounds. After the first week, you can have a bath or shower as normal, but please keep your wounds clean and dry at all other times.





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