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FAQ

  • Do I need a referral?

No, you can make an appointment directly to see one of our specialist vascular consultants.

  • What should I do if I would like to be assessed for the treatment?

Call 0844 335 8993 to arrange an appointment.

  • What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are veins that lie just below the surface of the skin which have become enlarged and tortuous.  All veins have valves within them which are responsible for preventing blood from pooling in the leg.  If valves fail to work, pressure increases in the veins and causes them to swell and bulge.  Varicose veins are usually most noticeable in the calf and ankle.  Standing for prolonged periods may cause the calf to ache or ankle to swell. Temporary pain relief can be achieved by use of stockings available from the NHS (in certain cases) or commercial suppliers such as The Leg-Care Company.

  • How are varicose veins diagnosed?

The best way to diagnose varicose veins is a duplex ultrasound.  During the assessment, a water-based gel is placed on to the skin of your leg (from groin to ankle) and an ultrasound probe is run over the skin surface, giving a picture of the veins and the direction of blood flow.  The scan provides a “map” of the varicose veins in your leg to determine which treatment will be the best option for you.  As the main veins in your leg (the deep veins) are also checked during the scan, any underlying problems which may exclude you from treatment will also be identified.

  • What is radiofrequency endovenous treatment and how does it work?

Radiofrequency generates heat which seals the varicose veins from the inside.  A small (2mm) incision is made in the skin (in the thigh or calf) and a catheter is inserted in to the vein until it reaches the groin.  Anaesthetic fluid is then injected into the tissues surrounding the vein in order to numb the area.  As the catheter is withdrawn down radiofrequency energy is applied to the vein wall, generating heat which seals the vein.  Over time, the treated vein hardens and shrinks down, eventually becoming indistinguishable from the surrounding tissue.

Ultrasound is used throughout the procedure to identify the main vein in the leg and to ensure the catheter and anaesthetic fluid are in the correct position.

  • How long does the RF treatment take?

RF treatment is usually carried out under local anaesthetic and takes approximately 30-60 minutes, though you can expect to be at the clinic for 1-2 hours on the day of your treatment.  You will be able to go home on the same day as your treatment.

  • What are the benefits of RF treatment?

Compared to conventional varicose vein surgery, where the faulty vein is “stripped” from the leg (usually under general anaesthetic), RF treatment has several benefits:

  • Performed under local anaesthetic
  • Minimal scarring – usually one 2mm scar
  • Less painful
  • Less bruising
  • Shorter recovery time – patients can resume normal activites within 20 minutes
  • Fewer complications
  • What are the possible side effects or complications of RF treatment?

As with any medical procedure, some side effects or complications can occur with RF treatment, therefore it is important to discuss any existing medical conditions or concerns with your consultant prior to going ahead with the treatment.

Side effects are rare and usually minor:

  • Minor pain/discomfort and bruising, which can be treated with common pain relief (paracetamol/ibuprofen)
  • Tingling or numbness, or a “pulling “ sensation in the thigh
  • Burning sensation in the varicose veins (phlebitis)
  • Wound infection
  • Skin dicolouration
  • In less than 0.5% of cases more serious side effects can occur, specifically deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE).
  • What is a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?

A DVT is the formation of blood clot in the deep veins usually in the leg which can cause acute pain and swelling. The risk of DVT is increased by any type of surgery but is an extremely rare side effect of RF treatment.

  • What is a Pulmonary Embolus (PE)?

A PE is blood clot which blocks of the vessels in the lung and can sometimes occur following a DVT.

  • How effective is RF treatment?

Multiple studies have shown that RF treatment provides significantly better outcomes than conventional surgery in terms of improvement in the appearance and symptoms of varicose veins, and patient experience.

  • Does it hurt?

There is slight pain when local anaesthetic is injected to make the small cut and feeling of pressure in the leg when the anaesthetic is injected around the vein.

There should be no pain when the vein is treated with heat.

After the treatment patients may feel and ‘pulling’ or tightening sensation as the vein heals and occasionally burning sensation in the vein (phlebitis) which usually settles within 1-2 weeks.

  • Can I drive after treatment?

Yes, you normally will be able to resume your normal activities within 20 minutes of the treatment.

  • Do I need to make any special preparations for the treatment?

You will need to ensure that you wear loose fitting trousers or a skirt because dressings may be applied after the treatment.

  • What are spider veins?

Spider veins are like varicose veins but smaller. They also are closer to the surface of the skin than varicose veins. Often, they are red or blue. They can look like tree branches or spiderwebs with their short, jagged lines. They can be found on the legs and face and can cover either a very small or very large area of skin.

  • What causes spider veins?

Spider veins can be caused by be caused by hormone changes, sun damage or local injury. They can also occur as a result of larger underlying varicose veins which are not always visible. It is important that spider veins are fully investigated using ultrasound to identify associated varicose veins. Failure to treat the underlying varicose veins may result in early recurrence of spider veins.

  • What is the treatment for spider veins?

Spider veins can be treated by injection of a chemical which causes the veins to stick together and seal up (Sclerotherapy).

Spider veins less than 3mm and close to the skin surface can be treated with laser. The laser is a specific wavelength which is absorbed by red blood cells to generate heat which seals spider veins.

  • Are there any side effects?

Sclerotherapy – This can be quite painful, lead to temporary bruising which settles over a few days and rarely may lead to permanent skin staining.

Laser – Can cause slight discomfort at the time of treatment similar to a ‘nettle sting’. May lead to redness and swelling which settles within a few days.

  • How much does the treatment cost?

This will be dependent on the outcome of the consultation and ultrasound scan. From this it will be determined if you need RF or Lase treatment on one or both legs. Prices for the initial consultation are £198.00 and after that the correct treatment will be selected, either; RF for starts from £1080.00 and laser from £298.00