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Varicose veins can be unsightly blemishes on your legs and, less frequently, the face. This can affect your self-confidence and how you dress. They can also cause pain and discomfort, as well as painful complications like leg ulcers.

Why you might need it

Varicose veins appear most commonly on the parts of us that are most open to public view – the face and legs. They can affect your self-confidence and self-esteem as they are often thick, knobbly, and can bulge under the skin. They can also appear as a blue or dark purple colour.

They are caused by blood collecting in superficial veins which lie just beneath the skin. These veins have a series of valves which help blood back towards the heart, but in some cases the valves become weakened or damaged and no longer close properly. When this occurs, blood is able to flow backwards; collecting in the vein. This becomes visible on the surface of the skin as a varicose vein. Varicose veins do not tend to get better without treatment, and usually get worse with time.

However, the NHS does not usually offer varicose vein treatment for cosmetic reasons, instead largely reserving such procedures for those experiencing pain, discomfort or complications.

As well as helping you improve the appearance of the affected area, we can also offer rapid treatment if you are seeking relief from pain or discomfort or are affected by complications such as leg ulcers or swelling.

We can offer both surgical and non-surgical treatments but you should discuss what option is best for you at your initial appointment with your consultant. Treatment choices often depend on the type of varicose veins you have, what you are trying to achieve and your general health.

Who will do it?

Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.

All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.

Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-speciality surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.

Before your treatment

You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.

We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.

Preparing for your treatment

We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.

For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.

Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.

The procedure

We understand that having surgery - or any other medical procedure - can potentially be a time of anxiety and worry - even for the most common and straightforward procedure. Our experienced and caring medical staff will be there for you, holding your hand, every step of the way.

There are four main types of varicose vein removal. We will discuss which procedure is best for you:

ClariVein

A minimally-invasive treatment performed under a local anaesthetic. Your doctor will insert a rotating catheter into the vein which releases the drug into the vein and seals it from the inside. The procedure does not require an overnight stay.

Endovenous laser

One of the most common procedures for treating. A laser inserted by a catheter heats up the vein and seals it closed. An ultrasound scan guides the laser to the correct position. It is usually conducted under local anaesthetic.

Surgical removal

A technique named ‘ligation and stripping’. Your surgeon will tie off and remove the affected vein. You will probably have a general anaesthetic and be discharged on the same day. However if both legs are being treated you’ll need to stay in your chosen Spire hospital overnight.

Ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy

A relatively new non-surgical treatment usually performed under local anaesthetic. Your doctor will inject a special foam into your vein. An ultrasound scan identifies the vein during the procedure. It’s possible to treat more than one vein during a session. Depending on how many veins are treated you can usually go home on the same day.

Aftercare

The time you spend with us will depend on your own circumstances and the specific type of varicose vein treatment you have, however most patients do go home on the same day. It's likely you will too unless you've had a general anaesthetic and had surgery on both legs.

After this, you will be taken to your room or comfortable area where you can rest and recuperate until we feel you’re ready to go home. 


Pain relief

We will give you medication while you’re with us and to take home to help ease any pain. 

We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you've left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.


Recovery time

After laser and foam treatments you should resume normal daily activities after you are discharged (apart from driving). But if you've had foam treatment you’ll need to wear compression stockings or bandages for up to a week.

If you have a ClariVein injection, you'll need to wear a compression stocking on your leg for a week. We'll put the stocking on for you.

After surgery, you might take up to three weeks to return to work, although this depends on your general health and the type of work you do. You may need to wear compression stockings for up to a week.

Generally your leg(s) will be bandaged while they heal.


End results

After foam treatment your varicose veins should begin to fade within a few weeks.


How your loved ones can help

Once you’re ready to be discharged from hospital, you’ll need to arrange a taxi, friend or family member to take you home as you won’t be able to drive. If you've had surgery on both legs you should also ask them if they can run some light errands such as shopping for you as your movement will be restricted for it for a few days.


Looking after you

Even after you’ve left hospital, we’re still looking after you every step of the way. Depending on the type of varicose veins and treatment you had, typically our consultants will want to see you after your procedure to see how you are doing.

On rare occasions, complications following varicose vein treatment can occur. We will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.

If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery, we're ready to help.

Why choose Spire?

We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.

How much does it cost?

Varicose vein treatment and surgery is available at £2,049.

You can trust Spire Cardiff Hospital to provide you with a single, fixed price (1) so there are no surprises. And, through our carefully chosen partner (2) you can even be considered for interest free finance.

We’re here to help you with making these important choices, so you’re then free to concentrate on your treatment and on getting back to being you.

(1) Important: Please read Spire’s terms and conditions for full details of what’s included and excluded in your fixed price* when paying for yourself.

(2) Zebra Finance Ltd trading as Zebra Health Finance , Lincoln House, Stephensons Way, Wyvern Business Park, Derby, DE21 6LY. 

Important to note

The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.