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What would happen if my veins were left untreated?

The appearance and discomfort of varicose veins may stay the same or they may get worse over time. Untreated varicose veins can sometimes lead to itching, cramps and heaviness of the legs, skin discoloration, red inflamed areas and skin ulceration.

What are the risks of Radiofrequency ablation for treatment of Varicose veins?

  • Bleeding

  • Paraesthesia (numbness)

  • Skin staining/ scarring

  • Phlebitis

Rare complications:

  • Recurrance

  • Need for further endovenous procedure (e.g. ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy)

  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

  • Pulmonary embolus (PE) (<1%)

  • Skin burns

What are the risks of Ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy? 

  • Bleeding

  • Skin staining

  • Thrombophlebitis

Rare complications:

  • Infection

  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

  • Coughing, chest tightness/heaviness

  • Extravasation of sclerosant

Very rare complications:

  • Pulmonary embolus (PE) (<1%)

  • Headache (<1%)

  • Transient visual disturbance (<1%)

  • Stroke (<1%)

Are there any alternative treatments?

Compression hosiery may help to improve symptoms. If symptoms persist, other alternatives may include ablation (removal of veins using radio-frequency ablation) or open surgery (stripping and ligation of the veins).

What happens before the procedure?

You can eat and drink normally. You will be advised beforehand if you need to stop/ alter any medications.
Wearing loose clothing and flat shoes is also preferable, as you will be wearing tight compression stockings after the procedure.

What happens after the procedure?

At the end of the procedure compression stockings will be applied to the treated legs. Before your discharge, we will advise you about post procedure care and a follow-up appointment will be arranged for you.

How much pain can I expect?

Slight discomfort may be experienced over the first day or so. Simple analgesia, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, may be taken if required.

What activities will I be able to do afterwards?

You are actively encouraged to resume normal activity as soon as possible after the procedure. Resuming normal activity and exercising reduces the risk of post operative complications like deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
You can exercise as normal as soon as you feel comfortable. Swimming should be avoided for 48 hours post the procedure.

When will I be able to drive?

You should be able to drive as long as you are able to control your vehicle and perform an emergency stop. You should, however, always check with your vehicle insurer before resuming driving.

When can I return to work?

There are no restrictions. You can resume work as soon as you feel ready to do so (usually 24-48 hours later).

When can I fly following treatment?

You are able to fly short haul flights approximately 2 weeks after the procedure. Long haul flights are a greater risk and should be avoided for 6 weeks following the procedure. There is an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis after varicose vein surgery. If you fly you should make sure that you wear your compression stockings, drink plenty of fluid and ensure you get up from your seat at regular intervals. If you have no contra-indications you should consider taking low dose (75mg) aspirin from before your flight. Please also take note of the in flight exercises that most airlines recommend.

When should I seek help?

  • Severe bleeding.

  • If you develop a fever above 38.5°C or rigors.

  • Increased pain, redness or swelling in the leg.

  • Chest pain/ tightness, shortness of breath and/ or rapid breathing.

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