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What will happen at my appointment?

Consultation and Ultrasound scan

You will receive a consultation with one of our eminent Vascular Surgeons (20 minutes). Following initial clinical assessment, they may recommend a vascular ultrasound scan preformed the same day.  They will review the results and discuss and devise the optimum tailored treatment plan and if appropriate consent you for the treatment (10 minutes). A convenient time will be arranged for the treatment, usually within two weeks of consultation.

The results of the consultation and scan will determine if you will need Laser (for spider veins) or RF (for varicose veins) treatment and will be individual to you, You may need treatment of one or both legs

In preparation for the ultrasound scan, please wear loose clothing which is easy to remove.

You will be asked to remove your trousers/dress/skirt, tights/socks and shoes.

You will be directed to stand on a stool for the first part of the examination and then to sit down on the couch.  Alternative arrangements will be made at the time of the scan if you are unable to stand.

Protective tissue will be tucked into your clothing and gel will be applied to the skin surface of your leg.  The probe will be moved on the skin surface on the thigh from the groin to the knee whilst standing and then from behind the knee to the ankle whilst sitting.  The ultrasound probe will be used to squeeze the veins at various points along the length of the leg which can cause discomfort and occasionally minor bruising.  Your calf will be squeezed and small marks pen marks may made on the skin surface during the scan.

Occasionally patients feel dizzy during the investigation, please immediately inform the vascular scientist. The examination of one leg will take 20-30 minutes.  You may feel dizzy after the examination so please take care when moving after the ultrasound scan.

Varicose vein – Radio-frequency (RF) treatment (30-40 minutes)

Prior to your treatment you will be reviewed by one of our specialist vascular scientist who will talk you through the procedure and ask you to confirm the leg for treatment and sign a consent form.

The Scientist will then perform an ultrasound scan and mark the position of the major veins.

You will be asked to undress and put on disposable underwear and a gown which we provide.

You will walk into the treatment room and be asked to lie on the examination couch. There will normally be two people in the treatment room, consultant who will perform the procedure and an assistant.

The leg will be cleaned using a warm sterilising fluid.

Local anaesthetic will be injected, this is the most uncomfortable part of the treatment. A needle will be inserted in the vein to be treated under ultrasound guidance. The catheter will be inserted and positioned correctly in the vein.

More local anaesthetic will be injected so that it surrounds the vein, protecting the surround tissue from damage and pain and forcing the catheter into contact with the inside of the vein. This can take up to 15 minutes depending on the length of vein to be treated.

The catheter position will be checked again by the clinician and the assistant prior to commencement of treatment which involves production of heat to destroy the vein from the inside. This procedure is usually pain-free but if pain is experienced more local anaesthetic is injected.

Often, veins in the calf may be treated, under local anaesthetic at the same time.

The leg will be cleaned and compression stockings will be applied. It is suggested you wear loose clothing to accommodate the stocking.

You will walk into a recovery room and advice leaflets will be provided about what you should expect in the 3-4 weeks following the treatment together with a telephone number for advice.

You will be asked to elevate your leg for 30 minutes before you are free to leave. You will be capable of walking and driving. Most patients do not even need to take paracetamol but you should have some available just in case you feel pain as the local anaesthetic wears off 5-6 hours later.

Spider veins – Laser treatment (15-20 minutes)

In preparation for the laser treatment, please wear loose clothing which is easy to remove.

You will be asked to remove clothing to allow access to the area of treatment and be made comfortable on an examination couch. Both you and the consultant will need to wear protective eye goggles.

The treatment area will be exposed to short pulses of laser light which will cause a slight tingling feeling similar to a nettle sting.  Depending on the severity and size of the treatment area of spider veins, you may require between 2-5 treatments over a number of days in order to completely remove the spider veins.

Occasionally patients feel dizzy during the treatement, please immediately inform the consultant. The treatment will usually take 15-20 minutes per session.

You may feel dizzy after the examination so please take care when sitting up after the ultrasound scan.

Following the treatment there may be redness or swelling which should settle within 1-2 days.

You will be able to return to normal activities immediately after the treatment.