Treatment of the Superficial Veins of the Leg

Patient Leaflets Team

  • Reference Number: HEY1255/2021
  • Departments: Day Surgery (DSU)

Treatment of the Superficial Veins of the Leg including: Radiofrequency Ablation, Laser Ablation, Foam Sclerotherapy, Surgical Ligation and Stripping, Phlebectomy, Endovenous Glue

Introduction

This advice sheet has been produced to give you information following your treatment. It is not meant to replace discussion between you and the healthcare team. If after reading it, you require further explanation please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team.

Your Consultant is ………………………………………………………

Your Surgeon is …………………………………………………………

If you have any problems or need further advice please contact the Day Surgery Unit Monday to Friday 08.00am to 18.00pm (01482) 675066. At other times contact Ward 7 (01482) 675007

Special Instructions:

 

Follow-up clinic

You will receive a follow-up appointment for approximately 12 weeks.  An appointment will be made for you if required and will follow in the post.

Dressings

After your treatment an adhesive bandage will be applied to your leg.

This should be left in place for one week.  The bandage can then be removed.

If the bandage is too tight you may develop swelling of the foot, numbness of the toes or a blue discolouration of the toes.  These symptoms may appear 2 – 4 hours after the bandage has been applied.  If you develop any of these problems you MUST telephone the contact numbers provided and seek advice immediately.

Pain

You may experience some mild pain following your operation. Paracetamol or Ibuprofen should give adequate pain relief if required. Please follow the instructions provided with the medications.

Work and exercise

It is important that you are as active as possible following your treatment.  Avoid sitting with your legs hanging below you or prolonged standing still for the next 7 days. You may return to work and normal activities as soon as you feel able, including the day of your treatment.  You should refrain from sport, vigorous activity and swimming for 10 – 14 days.

Driving

We advise that you do not drive for at least 48 hours after your procedure. You should only drive again when you are free of pain and able to perform an emergency stop comfortably. You should check with your insurance company to make sure you are covered to start driving again. If you are taking pain relief medication please check with a pharmacist whether it is safe for you to drive.

Travel

Sitting down for long periods with the knees bent, increases the risk of a DVT. You should avoid long journeys such as flying, train or coach travel (over four hours long) for at least four weeks after your procedure.

Complications

There are potential complications with any medical procedure, some of the most common problems are listed below:

Bleeding

You may notice some pink or red fluid leaking through your dressings.  The majority of such leakage is usually local anaesthetic which was injected to remove pain during or following the procedure.  In a small number of cases there is frank bleeding. In this case, elevate the bleeding leg as high as possible and apply pressure directly to the bleeding point. Removing your dressings can make bleeding worse so we would advise that you leave them in place.  Significant bleeding is very uncommon.

Bruising

Some bruising is normal and occasionally the leg will become very bruised. This may occur during the first few days following the procedure but will disappear after a few weeks. If you do experience bruising, walking or using an exercise bike can help reduce this.

Change in sensation

The nerves run close to the veins so can get damaged by the procedure. This may cause numbness, tingling and paraesthesia (pins and needles). This reduced sensation may be very noticeable at first but normally diminishes with time.

Brown pigmentation of the skin

Usually this fades over time but can be permanent.

Recurrent varicose veins

No treatment for varicose veins can be completely guaranteed against it recurring. Some people can still grow new veins even when all previous veins have been treated correctly. It is important that you to understand that not every visible vein will disappear as a result of your treatment. Your treatment has been for symptoms, not overall appearance. There is usually an improved cosmetic result but this is not guaranteed nor is it the main reason for treatment.

Superficial Vein Thrombosis

This is an inflammation of the superficial veins.  They become hard, red and tender. Most patients will experience some lumps and this is nothing to worry about

although these lumps may be inflamed and uncomfortable. If this occurs, anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen will help. The lumps will eventually subside and disappear but it may take several months to do so. Usually when there is inflammation, the leg will be painful and this pain may last for up to a month. Also, severe twinges of pain may occur in some patients and may persist for some months, again you can take pain relief medication as prescribed.

Regular daily exercise such as walking or using an exercise bike and massage may help with the pain. Although this may be uncomfortable try not to rest your leg as this increases the risk of developing blood clots in the deep veins (DVT).

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

This is a rare complication of any operation to the legs. A clot forms in the deep veins in the legs. To lower this risk the most important advice is to move around when you can and avoid long periods of not moving. Rarely this can lead to a pulmonary embolus (PE) where some of the clot can break off and go to the lungs.

Emergencies

Please seek help immediately (call an ambulance or go to the Emergency department) if the following occurs:

  • You have significant bleeding which does not stop with simple pressure or elevation.
  • You have difficulty breathing, which gets worse when you take a deep breath.
  • You have a sudden cough, or you cough up blood.
  • You have sudden chest pain.
  • You have pain in your calf and you are not able to put your foot down
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