Q. Do I need a referral from a GP or Doctor?
A. You do not require a referral from a GP or Doctor as you are able to contact us directly to make an appointment to see one of our vascular consultants.
Q. What should I do if I would like to be assessed for the treatment?
A. Call the Diagnostic Healthcare phone line on 0161 929 5679 (option 3) and we can arrange an appointment for you. Phone lines are open Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm. Out of hours? Then feel free to contact us using our Online Enquiry form or the MVC email address firstname.lastname@example.org
Q. How are varicose veins diagnosed?
A. We will look to diagnose varicose veins using duplex ultrasound. During the assessment with one of our vascular scientists, an ultrasound probe is run over the skin surface using a hypoallergenic gel, which produces a picture of the veins. If they are faulty, this is seen by visualising the flow of blood. Your deep veins and smaller (superficial veins) will be scanned which will also produce a vein map for the vascular surgeon to determine which treatment will be the best option for you.
Q. What is a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and a Pulmonary Embolism (PE)?
A. A DVT is the formation of blood clot in the deep veins usually in the leg which can cause acute pain and swelling. There is always a small risk of DVT by any type of surgery. This is an extremely rare side effect of Radio Frequency treatment (RF). A PE is a blood clot which can block off some of the vessels in the lung and can sometimes occur after a DVT. For more information regarding DVT and PE please see the Circulation Foundations help and advice website on DVT.
Q. How effective is Radio Frequency treatment?
A. Multiple studies have shown that RF treatment has significantly better outcomes than conventional surgery in terms of less pain, less bruising with few complications. There is also a faster return to normal activities with this treatment.
Q. Does it hurt?
A. You will have several small injections during the procedure which can cause some mild discomfort which is when the initial catheter is going into the vein and also when local anaesthetic is being put around the vein. You should not feel any pain when the vein is treated with using heat.
Q. Can I drive after my treatment?
A. You will normally will be able to resume your normal activities within 20 minutes of the treatment and should be able to drive home.
Q. Do I need to make any special preparations for the treatment?
A. You will have to wear loose fitting trousers or a skirt because dressings may be applied after the procedure.
Q. What are spider veins?
A. 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 spider webs 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. See Spider Veins
Q. What causes spider veins?
A. Spider veins can be caused by a number of ways including hormone changes, sun damage or local injury. They can also present as a result of larger underlying varicose veins which are not always visible. It is important that spider veins are fully investigated using an ultrasound scan to identify associated varicose veins. Failure to treat the underlying varicose veins may result in the spider veins recurring early. See Spider Vein Removal
Q. What are the treatments for spider veins?
A. Spider veins can be treated by injecting a chemical in them which causes the veins to stick together and seal up. This is called Foam sclerotherapy; See Foam Sclerotherapy. Small spider veins less than 3mm and close to the skin can be treated using laser. The laser is absorbed by the red blood cells which heats up and closes the spider veins; See Dual Yellow Laser.
Q. How much does the treatment cost?
A. The cost will be dependent on the outcome of the consultation and ultrasound scan. Once they have scanned you, they can assess if you need RF or Laser treatment on one or both legs. The cost for the initial consultation is £198.00 and after that the correct treatment will be selected. Prices range from either RF from £1400.00 per leg and laser from £245.00 (per 20 minute session) for your first session then £195 (per 20minute session) for any following laser treatment session. See Prices
Q. Are there any side effects with Foam Sclerotherapy and Laser treatments?
A. Sclerotherapy – This can cause temporary bruising which settles over a few days but may lead to brown skin staining which may go after some time.
Laser – You may suffer from slight discomfort at the time of treatment similar to a ‘nettle sting’. May also lead to redness and swelling which will settle down in a few days.
Q. What is Radiofrequency endovenous (RF) treatment and how does it work?
A. Radiofrequency works by generating heat which seals the varicose veins from the inside. A small (2mm) incision is made in the leg and a catheter is inserted in to the vein until it reaches the groin. Anaesthetic fluid is then injected around the vein in order to numb the area and to ensure only then vein is heated. As the catheter is withdrawn, radiofrequency energy is applied to the vein wall, generating heat which seals the vein. Over time, the vein shrinks down and eventually disappears.
Q. How long does the RF treatment take?
A. The treatment is usually carried out under local anaesthetic on a walk in walk out basis and takes approximately 60 minutes, though you can expect to be at the clinic for a few hours on the day of your treatment. You will be able to go home on the same day and can resume normal activities the next day.
Q. What are the benefits of RF treatment?
A. Compared to traditional varicose vein surgery, where the vein is “stripped” from the leg under general anaesthetic, RF treatment has several benefits:
- Performed under local anaesthetic on a walk in walk out basis
- Minimal scarring – usually one 2mm incision around the knee
- Less painful
- Less bruising
- Shorter recovery time – patients can resume normal activities the next day
- Fewer complications
Q. What are the possible side effects or complications of RF treatment?
A. As with any medical procedure, there is a risk of side effects. Therefore, it is important to discuss any existing medical conditions with your consultant before going ahead with the treatment.
Side effects are rare and usually minor but can include some of the following:
- Minor pain/discomfort and bruising, which can be treated with common pain relief tablets
- 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 may occur, specifically deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE).