Meeting your Consultant at a clinic is the first step to pain-free, healthier legs. The aim of the visit is to understand what’s wrong and agree on the best course of private treatment for your varicose veins. If you’re worried about your condition, or unsure what treatment will involve, they’re here to answer your questions and concerns. During your visit they’ll:
1. Understand the problem
Firstly, they’ll ask you about your medical history, focusing on the problems the veins are causing and any previous surgery you’ve had.
2. Assess your health
Next they’ll assess your general health by looking at your pre-existing health conditions and any medication you take. It’s worth bringing a list of your prescriptions with you.
3. Run a scan on your leg
Following that, they’ll examine and scan your leg using an ultrasound machine. The ultrasound lets them look inside your leg to find out where the veins are coming from. You might be surprised to discover that the veins you can see with the naked eye are only the tip of the iceberg!
Once they understand what the problem is, they’ll explain the structure of your veins, usually by drawing a simple diagram.
4. Talk about your treatment options
They’ll then discuss your treatment options. Surgical treatment for varicose veins has changed completely in the last 15 years, from the old style ‘stripping’ operations (requiring a general anaesthetic, and often a stay in hospital) to minimally invasive ‘walk in / walk out’ thread vein removal surgery under local anaesthetic, which is more like a trip to the dentist.
Your treatment might involve surgery, an injection (as with sclerotherapy treatment) or no surgical treatment at all. If you’re not suitable for surgery, either because of the structure of your veins, the risks involved or the likelihood of success, your Consultant will discuss this with you.
If your veins are suitable for surgery, they’ll discuss your expectations. Are you at risk of getting a venous ulcer in future? Are you concerned about how your legs will look after the surgery – or do you just want the pain and discomfort to go away?
What are the risks of surgery?
Finally, whatever option you choose, your Consultant will discuss the risks and benefits. Varicose vein surgery is very low risk and usually very successful. However, there are risks from any sort of surgery, and no treatment is guaranteed to make your leg look completely flawless, so it’s important that you have a clear and realistic understanding before starting your treatment.
5. Agree on a treatment plan
By the end of the consultation, you should be able to make an informed decision about your care. There’s a lot to take in, so your Consultant will give you an information booklet to read which will include the details of your treatment. If you need to come back to the hospital for tests, they’ll explain what these involve and how much they might cost.
If you have any questions about what we’ve discussed, or there’s something you don’t understand, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.