Varicose veins, those swollen, enlarged and twisted blood vessels often visible on the legs, can be more than just a cosmetic concern. For many, they can cause discomfort, pain and other health issues. Fortunately with advancements in medical technology, there are various surgical procedures to treat them.
However, one of the primary concerns of potential patients is “How much does varicose vein surgery cost in the UK?” This article delves deep into the topic, offering insights into the pricing structure, factors affecting the cost and the value derived from varicose vein treatment.
This condition develops due to damaged or faulty valves in veins. Veins have one-way valves that stop blood from flowing backward. Due to faulty valves, blood begins to collect in the veins and your veins become enlarged and swollen.
Varicose veins surgery may be an option if you suffer from the following symptoms:
The primary symptoms of varicose veins are highly visible veins in your legs area. You may also have:
In severe cases, varicose veins can lead to:
For some people, these veins are just a cosmetic concern. For others, varicose veins can cause pain and can lead to more serious problems.
“Vein Ligation & Stripping” is a traditional surgery that is used to remove varicose veins by making small incisions and physically pulling the varicose veins out of the body. Now, minimal or non-invasive procedures are available that are performed by making tiny needle-like incisions in the skin.
What is the Cost of Varicose Veins Surgery In The UK?
At private hospitals and clinics in the UK, varicose veins surgery typically costs between £750 and £3,720. This will depend on the type of procedure you have. Generally, sclerotherapy is the cheapest treatment and stripping is the most expensive.
We will discuss these in more detail later but first let us take a look at varicose vein treatment cost in different parts of the UK.
Here is a detailed breakdown to compare the cost of varicose veins surgery near you.
How much is Varicose Veins Surgery in my area?
|Region||Lowest||Highest||Average||No. of Hospitals|
|North West||£1,695 |
Circle The Highfield Hospital (BMI)
Circle The Alexandra Hospital (BMI)
Circle The Beardwood Hospital (BMI)
Circle The Lancaster Hospital (BMI)
Circle The Beaumont Hospital (BMI)
|North East||£2,277 |
Tees Valley Treatment Centre
Circle Woodlands Hospital (BMI)
|Yorkshire and the Humber||£1,695 |
Circle The Duchy Hospital (BMI)
Circle The Huddersfield Hospital (BMI)
Circle Thornbury Hospital (BMI)
|East Midlands||£1,695 |
Nuffield Health Derby Hospital
|West Midlands||£785 |
Nuffield Health Hereford Hospital
Nuffield Health Shrewsbury Hospital
|East of England||£2,305 |
Fitzwilliam Hospital - Ramsay Health Care UK
Nuffield Health Brentwood Hospital
Circle The London Independent Hospital (BMI)
|South East||£1,060 |
Nuffield Health Oxford Hospital, The Manor
Nuffield Health Wessex Hospital
|South West||£1,695 |
Nuffield Health Plymouth Hospital
Nuffield Health Taunton Hospital
Spire Yale Hospital
Spire Yale Hospital
Nuffield Health Glasgow Hospital
Circle Ross Hall Hospital (BMI)
Circle Kings Park Hospital (BMI)
What Does Varicose Veins Surgery Involve?
Before The Procedure
Your surgeon will perform a physical examination to locate the faulty valves. To get a better view, your surgeon will use an ultrasound device to visualize the affected veins and check for any blood clots. The surgery will be performed under general anaesthesia or spinal anaesthesia.
During the Procedure
After the Procedure
After the surgery, you may experience some pain and discomfort so painkillers are usually prescribed to manage this pain. You will be encouraged to walk around to promote circulation and prevent blood clot formation.
You may experience bruising and swelling around the treated area and this can last for several weeks. You may also be required to wear compression stockings for a few weeks to help reduce swelling and reduce the risk of blood clots.
Recovering from varicose vein stripping will take 2 to 4 weeks for an improvement in many of the symptoms. But it might take several months for the legs to fully heal and the small scars to fade completely. Recovery time will also depend on how many veins were stripped and where they were located.
Whilst effective, especially for larger varicose veins, this procedure has a longer recovery period and can result in more post-operative pain and scarring compared to newer, minimally invasive techniques.
Given that this is a more traditional and invasive method, the costs are generally higher. Expect to pay anywhere between £2,000 to £3,500 for varicose vein stripping, depending on the complexity of the procedure.
Other Less Invasive Treatment Options
Endo thermal ablation
One of the highly recommended treatments of varicose veins is “endothermal ablation”. This procedure involves energy either from lasers (endovenous laser ablation or EVLA) or high-frequency radio waves (radiofrequency ablation or RFA) to seal the faulty veins.
Endothermal ablation is usually used to treat the deeper veins of the leg. The price of endothermal ablation varicose vein treatment is typically between £1,500 and £3,000 per leg and is similar for either EVLA or RFA treatment.
Let us take a look at each of these procedures:
1. Radiofrequency ablation
2. Endovenous laser ablation
Endovenous laser ablation is similar to radio-frequency ablation, except it utilizes laser energy rather than radio-frequency energy.
The benefit of endothermal ablation techniques is that they involve minimal scarring, reduced post operative pain and a faster recovery period compared to traditional surgeries.
Most patients are encouraged to walk immediately after the procedure. This helps in promoting circulation and reduces the risk of blood clots. There may be mild pain or discomfort in the treated leg but it is generally less than traditional surgery.
Some patients report a feeling of tightness or a pulling sensation in the treated leg but this usually resolves within a week or so. Any bruising, swelling or skin discolouration also starts to fade within a week.
Walking is encouraged but strenuous activities and heavy lifting might be restricted for a week or two.
While endothermal ablation is considered a safe and effective varicose veins surgery, there’s a minimal risk of complications such as deep vein thrombosis, skin burns, nerve damage or the small chance of the varicose vein returning.
This treatment involves injecting special foam or liquid solution called sclerosant into your veins. The injection is directed to the vein using an ultrasound scan. The foam or the liquid solution scars the veins and seals them shut, directing blood flow towards healthier veins.
Liquid sclerotherapy is more suitable for smaller varicose veins and spider veins. Foam sclerotherapy is utilised for larger veins where the foam can push blood out of the vein, allowing better contact with the vein walls and increasing the effectiveness of the treatment.
The cost of liquid sclerotherapy can vary from £250 to £500 per session, depending on the number of veins being treated. Foam sclerotherapy is usually more expensive than the liquid variant, with costs ranging from £400 to £900 per session.
After sclerotherapy, the varicose veins will disappear over time. Given its minimal nature, the recovery from sclerotherapy is generally quicker and simpler than many other treatment options.
Patients are usually encouraged to walk immediately after the procedure and compression stockings or bandages are often applied to the treated areas. They help to compress the veins, prevent blood from entering them, reduce swelling and enhance the effectiveness of the treatment.
Some patients experience minor pain, itching or a burning sensation at the injections sites. These are typically short-lived as is localised swelling and bruising.
While many smaller veins may disappear within weeks, larger veins may take a few months to fade completely. Depending on the severity and number of veins being treated, multiple sclerotherapy sessions might be needed. These are typically spaced a few weeks apart.
Ambulatory phlebectomy, sometimes referred to as microphlebectomy or stab avulsion, is a minimally invasive varicose veins surgery used to remove veins close to the skin’s surface.
In this procedure, your surgeon will make a small needle-like incision near the vein and remove it through the incision using a special hook. This treatment is especially suitable for larger surface veins. The benefits are minimal scarring and a relatively quick recovery. However, you may need a repeat procedure to get the desired results.
The cost of ambulatory phlebectomy for varicose vein removal can range from £1,000 to £2,500 depending on the number of veins to be removed and the clinic or hospital’s pricing structure.
The recovery is typically straightforward and relatively quick. Once again, the patient is encouraged to walk around and wear compression stockings to aid the healing process. The small incisions often don’t require stitches. They may be covered with steri-strips or small dressings which will usually fall off on their own. It is essential to keep these areas clean and dry.
Any localised swelling, bruising or discomfort will diminish in the first few days. Most patients will be able to resume their daily activities within a day or two. However, you may be advised to avoid strenuous exercises for 1 to 2 weeks.
A follow-up visit is usually scheduled a few weeks post-procedure, as it is with all varicose veins surgery, to ensure proper healing and to check for any potential complications.
|-||Ligation & Stripping||Endo-thermal Ablation||Sclerotherapy||Phlebectomy|
|Procedure time||1 to 2 hour||1-2 hours||30-40 minutes||45-60 minutes|
|Back home from the hospital||Same day||Same day||Same day||Same day|
|Full recovery||2-4 weeks||1-2 weeks||12-24 hours||1-3 weeks|
|Common Risks & Complications||Infection, heavy bleeding, nerve injury, blood clots||Bruising, pain, nerve irritation, numbness, or tingling||Bruising, pain, nerve irritation, numbness, or tingling||Bruising, discomfort and swelling|
Statistics of Varicose Veins Treatment In The UK
According to a questionaire based survey from 178,669 respondents in the UK (1), the percentages of varicose veins treatments are as follows:
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What Is The Most Serious Health Risk Of Untreated Varicose Veins?
When you have varicose veins, your blood is unable to correctly flow back toward your heart and pools in the lower body, especially the legs. This condition may lead to the formation of blood clots.
These clots (in the deep vein) can travel through your bloodstream to the lungs, causing life-threatening conditions such as pulmonary embolism (blockage of blood vessels in your lungs). It is the most serious risk of untreated varicose veins.
2. Will Removing Or Destroying Varicose Veins Affect Blood Flow?
Removing varicose veins will improve blood flow towards the heart. Your body is naturally adaptive as it diverts the blood flow towards healthy veins and effectively returns blood back to the heart.
3. Are Compressions Stockings Actually An Effective Treatment?
Compressions stockings can be very effective in reducing symptoms of varicose veins. By applying direct pressure on default veins, compressions stockings:
- Improve blood flow
- Reduce inflammation
- Prevent blood accumulation
However, these cannot prevent varicose veins. Consult your doctor for an effective treatment plan and a decision whether you require varicose veins surgery.
4. Are Vein Stripping and Ambulatory Phlebectomy the Same?
Ambulatory Phlebectomy refers to the removal of bulging small veins through tiny needle-like incisions in the skin. While vein stripping is the surgical removal of greater veins that are not visible on the skin.
In many cases, varicose veins only cause mild discomfort and the symptoms can be managed by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, avoiding standing for a long period of time and wearing compression stockings. However, in some cases, they may require varicose veins surgery.
Even if your symptoms are not severe, we still recommend you contact your doctor who will advise you on whether varicose veins surgery is the most appropriate course of action to avoid serious complications in the future. By being aware of varicose vein removal cost, you will be better equipped to make a final decision which gives you the best possible outcome.
When evaluating the cost of varicose vein treatment, also consider the potential long term savings from avoiding complications and further treatments.
While the price tag can be significant, it’s essential to view varicose vein surgery as an investment in your health and wellbeing. Successful surgeries not only alleviate physical discomfort but also enhance confidence and overall life quality.