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Varicose veins

Varicose veins are swollen, bulging veins that normally occur in the legs and feet


Varicose veins are enlarged, swollen veins. They often look blue or purple and usually occur in the legs and feet. Normally, veins have one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing back to your feet. In varicose veins, these valves weaken, leading to a pooling of blood and bulging veins.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of varicose veins icon plus

    Varicose veins can be inherited or result from increased pressure in the veins, typically as a result of being overweight or pregnant. Although their appearance can be distressing, varicose veins may not cause any symptoms. But they can lead to serious complications: - Thrombophlebitis. A blot clot forming in one of your veins and blocking it. - Bleeding. If a varicose vein is cut or bumped, the resulting bleeding might become a medical emergency if it can't be stopped - Chronic venous insufficiency. Over time, the poor flow that has caused your varicose veins can also damage the way your skin exchanges oxygen and nutrients with your blood.
  • Diagnosis icon plus

    Varicose veins easy for you to see but there are a number of diagnostic tests that can help you to find out what is happening in your veins and how they can be treated. Your HCA UK vascular consultant will discuss these tests with you. They might include: - An ultrasound scan to check blood flow and whether the valves in your veins are working correctly. - A Duplex ultrasound scan to identify abnormalities in vein structure and assess the deep veins for signs of DVT.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    If you've been diagnosed with varicose veins, your HCA UK vascular consultant will discuss your treatment options with you. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, these might include: - Compression stockings can help blood flow back up to the heart. However, they won't prevent more varicose veins from developing. - Surgery to close off the affected vein. There are various techniques to do this, including endovenous thermal ablation, sclerotherapy (surgery) and endoscopic perforator vein surgery. - Vein ligation or stripping. A surgical to remove the affected veins through small cuts made in your leg.
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

  • Wellington-south-hero-facility-582-582

    The Wellington Hospital

    Wellington Place

    London NW8 9LE

    Appointments 0207 483 5148
    Enquiries 020 3131 7478

  • facility-HSC-flag-hero-582x582

    The Harley Street Clinic

    35 Weymouth Street


    W1G 8BJ

    Appointments 020 7034 8181
    Enquiries 020 3131 7962

  • The Lister Hospital Facility

    The Lister Hospital

    Chelsea Bridge Road


    SW1W 8RH

    Appointments 020 7811 4000
    Enquiries 020 3131 4978

  • London Bridge Hospital Facility

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street


    SE1 2PR

    Appointments and Enquiries 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 020 7234 2773
    Switchboard 020 7407 3100

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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