Varicose Vein Surgery Melbourne
A patient’s guide
Mr Mark Lovelock – FRACS
Vascular & Endovascular Surgeon
What are Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are visible just beneath the skin and appear swollen, twisted and darkish-blue in appearance. They are most commonly found in people’s legs and are caused by either damaged, faulty or missing valves within veins, that allow blood to pool instead of carrying the blood back to the heart.
They can vary in size from quite small (2-3mm across) to very large (2-3cms across).
What causes varicose veins
Varicose veins, that require surgery, are generally the result of an inherited predisposition to mechanical failure of the valves within the veins themselves.
This predisposition is then exacerbated by other factors such as pregnancy, obesity, gravity, standing or sitting that result in blood to flow backwards into the legs instead of upwards toward the heart.
The deep veins of the leg work harder to pump the blood upwards again but, the resultant increased flow and pressure of the blood leaking backwards into the surface veins causes them to swell and “blow out”giving them the blue twisted appearance.
Varicose vein surgery
The operation to remove varicose veins is designed to:
- Identify points of venous valve failure.
- Extract the varicose veins from the leg by means of multiple small incisions, involving the removal of the damaged veins.
The surgical technique is known as “ligation, puncture and extraction”. This is an outpatient procedure for most people. Removing the vein won’t adversely affect circulation in your leg because veins deeper in the leg take care of the larger volumes of blood.
Prior to the operation you will be seen by both your anaesthetist and Mr. Lovelock. The anaesthetist will discuss the type of anaesthesia for you and answer any questions regarding same.
It is important that you tell the anaesthetist of any drug allergies. Also bring any regular medication you take, with you to the hospital. Stopping smoking is necessary for the smooth running of an anaesthetic and you are advised to cease smoking 6 weeks before your operation. This doubles the safety of your anaesthetic.
After admission to hospital, Mr. Lovelock will arrange for you to be put in a hot shower following which he will mark out your legs with red ink. This will indicate the incision sites of surgery.
You may ask Mr. Lovelock any further questions about your surgery at this pre-operative consultation.
On the day of your surgery
On the day of operation you will again see the anaesthetist and Mr. Lovelock. An assistant surgeon is employed on all occasions for venous surgery, as it shortens the operation time, thus making the procedure safer. The assistant will be introduced to you prior to anaesthesia.
When you have your operation, you can expect an incision, approximately one to three centimetres long, over the site of the leaking valves. These are generally at each groin and less frequently behind the knee. All of the incisions for extraction of the varicose veins themselves will be approximately ½ to 3 millimetres in length and will be closed by single suture or adhesive tape. Some extraction sites will not require anything at all.
Post operative care
After surgery you can expect some mild stinging discomfort for a few hours, which should be easily controlled by oral pain medication (Panadol or Panadeine). Please report to the nursing staff if your bandages are causing severe pain or you are having difficulty sleeping because of the pain.
The hospital stay for this surgery is usually one to three days. Rebandaging of leg(s) takes place on the second day after surgery.
Mr. Lovelock will see you daily and will arrange:
- Follow up appointments.
- Removal of any stitches – Usually 5 to 10 days post surgery.
Surgical scars are quite small and may be initially red as they heal. They usually take 6 weeks to 18 months to fade depending on the individual.
The legs are bruised and sometimes lumpy and the thighs may feel bruised. These problems usually resolve over two weeks.
If you are prone to small spider veins or burst capillaries, then these will often become more numerous. Follow up treatment is available by means of injection therapy, if required.
There are no restrictions following surgery and you may drive, walk or do most chores normally. Activity is encouraged and walking is the best activity to look after your body at this time.
When you are inactive you will find it more comfortable to put your legs up. The bandages will control swelling and can be used for extended periods if desired. One week is the usual time for bandages. There is no need to elevate your feet in bed after the first day after your operation.
The chances of a complication requiring re-admission to hospital, or delay in discharge, are about 1 in 1,000.
The risks of:
- Infection 1: 1,000
- Deep vein thrombosis 1: 2,000
Infection – Is evidenced by a discharge or fever with redness and pain of a wound.
Deep vein thrombosis – Is evidenced by excess pain/or severe swelling. Minor risks are numb patches, bruising, lumps or solid segments of vein causing discomfort.
If you experience any of these symptoms or any other difficulties regarding the operation refer them immediately to Mr. Lovelock. Telephone numbers are on your post-operative instruction sheet.
If you have any questions or to would like to book an appointment visit:
Varicose Vein Surgery Melbourne
Mr Mark Lovelock see patients from all over Melbourne in relation to Varicose Vein Surgery including Richmond, Mulgrave, Brighton, Box Hill, Gardenvale, Elsternwick, Elwood, St Kilda, St Kilda East, Caufield, Glen Huntly, Bentleigh, Hampton, Sandringham, Black Rock, Cremorne, Toorak, South Yarra, Collingwood, Fitzroy, South Melbourne, Hawthorn, Armadale, Wheelers Hill, Glen Waverley, Mount Waverley, Oakleigh, Surrey Hills, Blackburn, Burwood and Camberwell.