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Considering a varicose vein operation? Here's my experience...

I always knew I'd get varicose veins! I have giant veins, my mum has them and at  20 I could feel one already starting to bulge. Fast forward 3 pregnancies, a lot of running and 15 years and I hated my legs so much I didn't every wear shorts or skirts, even with tights. 

I put off having the operation because I couldn't imagine how on earth I could cope with the recovery with a young family and with running a business too (so no sick leave). I've had loads of questions from other women on it all so I thought I'd do a blog to explain how I found it all.

Arranging the operation

I'd spoken to my GP who said they did very few varicose operations on the NHS now and only for severe cases which mine weren't classed as. I was fortunate to have private medical care through my husband's job so I got a private referral. I saw the consultant and she did an ultrasound on my leg and measured which veins were very big and therefore definitely varicose. She recommended doing a strip on both legs under general anaesthetic.

 Surgery day

There was no food from 6am and no water from 9am which I did not love! I then went into the hospital at noon and had a fair bit of waiting until I had the operation at 5. The consultant drew some attractive lines on my legs in sharpie in preparation. I've never had a general anesthetic before so was really quite anxious about it. The consultant explained that it's exactly that same medicine they give your for local just more and that there are no more risks to me from it. 

The anesthetic was fine and I fell gently to sleep in seconds and when I woke up I was in the recovery room with the nurse and consultant. I did feel groggy and my legs were both in ankle to thigh bandages. I had a doze for an hour or so and then food. After this the nurses are very keen to get you up and for a walk. This was NOT a joy! My legs were pretty sore and I have very low blood pressure so suddenly went faint with the room spinning. 

Second time I managed to walk the length of the ward and that was me allowed to go home (and to bed!). They don't give you strong painkillers and just recommend paracetamol and ibuprofen and I found there was no pain unless I was walking so slept fine (ish). 

Day 1: I'd been told to keep my feet up all day but have a 5-10 minute walk every hour. I was still in bandages so the stairs were awkward and walking wasn't great. But not bad enough to need painkillers. I had my dad and step mum look after the kids all day but they watched TV with me and I could still do bits and bobs for them. I did feel quite rough today after the anesthetic too. 

Day 2: I still needed help with our three children (just turned 2, 4 and 6) but I was much more ok and the big highlight was that I was allowed to take the bandages off before bed - 48 hours after the operation. Whilst lying down I took off the bandages and then put on high high compression stockings which felt incredibly lovely compared to the bulkier bandages. .The compression stockings had to kept on the ENTIRE time.  

Days 3 - 5: I felt better each day and was able to manage the kids at home fine. Friends did the school drops which was essential though (and I wasn't allowed to drive yet).

Day 6 - At bedime I was finally able to remove the control stockings which was amazing! And I was able to drive again. I had a walk for 30 minutes and felt fine too. 

The hardest thing were the soreness of walking at first and mostly that I couldn't take off the bandages/stockings so didn't have a proper shower for a week. Nice! 


Legs on day 6 - these little strips all fell off gradually. 



 Legs 2 months or so later. There's little white fine marks which are fading but I'm thrilled with them. 



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