My Varicose Vein Laser Surgery Experience
In October I had laser surgery on my leg to remove some varicose veins I have thanks to my once upon a time 4kg babies. (Kids – the gifts that just keep giving 😁).
I was given a xanax beforehand to relax – lovely stuff! I was also given an injection into my stomach of something to thin my blood – thankfully there was a handy roll there for the nurse to get a good grip. They then helped me into a wheelchair to wheel me from the pre-op room to theatre, which was the room next door. I felt like I could walk but because of the xanax I wasn’t allowed.
After painting my leg and groin area a hideous fake tan orange the doctors placed blue plastic protective sheets all around my leg and sealed the sticky edges against my skin. One of the most difficult parts of the whole op was holding my leg up in the air for 5 minutes while they got the plastic sheeting arranged underneath – my abs are definitely not cut out for this type of carry on.
They gave me two injections of local anaesthetic in two different places on my thigh but I couldn’t watch the op as they had bunched a plastic sheet up around my neck. Not that I’m complaining, I was so zoned out I might have said something inappropriate which would only have distracted the surgeon.
I could watch the surgeon’s expressions and he calmly let me know what he was doing at every stage. He gave me about 5-6 injections of protective fluid around the vein, this was necessary to prevent my leg tissue from being burnt by the laser and although I had the anaesthetic which numbed the tissue inside my leg, I still had sensation in the upper levels of my skin so the piercing of the injections was quite uncomfortable.
However, I didn’t feel the laser at all, in fact I have no idea where it entered my body. I noticed a circular spot on my skin three days later after removing all the plasters so how laser surgery is performed remains a mystery to me. The surgery lasted about 45 minutes I think, but to be honest that part is all a bit of a blur.
Afterwards I was able to walk straight away and only had a slight burning sensation and stiffness. As I had been fasting from 8am and it was now 4pm I was hungry so I needed no encouragement to eat the snack I had brought.
Before I went to bed I took some pain killers and had a good sleep. I had to wear a gorgeous black support stocking day and night and I wasn’t allowed to have a shower for 3 days.
The next day I noticed a couple of blisters at the top of my leg from the rubber lines of the elasticated top of the stocking. I placed a plaster over the blisters but some days I had to roll the top down a little and wear the stocking slightly lower just to protect my skin.
I was very curious to remove the stocking and investigate my leg after the three days to see what the effects of the surgery were but also slightly squeamish about removing the 5 plasters lined up along my inner thigh.
When I had my pre-op consultation the specialist offered me the choice of laser surgery under local anaesthetic or more intensive surgery under a general anaesthetic. With the local, the top section of the vein above the bumpy bits is burnt so that it is no longer fed with blood, with general, the whole vein is literally pulled from your leg.
With laser surgery he said he couldn’t guarantee that the unsightly bumps and lumps would disappear but I would no longer have the discomfort from the aches or the heavy leg feeling I had been experiencing for all the years since the veins started to really become prominent. And the recovery time would be quicker – I would be able to drive after 3 days and there would not be the same level of risk as there is associated with a general anaesthetic.
I have met a couple of anaesthetists who told me that if they ever had the choice, they would not choose a general anaesthetic themselves. I guess they know the risks the best out of anyone. I decided that the cosmetic reasons for removing a few bumps and lumps were not worth the risks of having a needle stuck into my spine, so I opted for laser surgery.
The day I removed my stocking I was delighted to see that, although the veins hadn’t completely disappeared, they had shrunk considerably.
I wasn’t allowed to drive for those first three days but was encouraged to walk for 20 minutes a day three times daily. For the week I was to wear the support stocking day and night and then only during the day for the second week.
For those two weeks I had a couple of large bruises – one at the top of my thigh and the other just above my knee – which grew larger until slightly bigger than the size of my palm until they faded away. I also had a very tender lump about the the size of the first digit of my thumb in the bruise at the top of my thigh.
To be honest, one of the worst parts, apart from the leg elevation moment in theatre, was the itching from the hair regrowth around my groin area. That drove me absolutely bonkers some days! Shaving was a requirement before surgery – never again I tell you!! Besides that, I have so say it was not the most dignifying process as surgery happens so close to your groin area, perhaps that was another reason for the tranquilisers?
I was booked off work for a week which is ironic as I have been waiting for this surgery for 5 years and only started a job 3 and a half weeks before the op. Sadly I hadn’t been working long enough to qualify for paid sick leave. 🙁 Thankfully I hadn’t been working long enough to be used to being paid regularly anyway! 😀
Now after another two weeks the bruises have almost completely disappeared and it feels great not to have to wear any sort of support stocking or bandage for the first time in many years.
I have been gently massaging my leg with a light body oil by Balmonds* so I don’t know whether this has helped to reduce the veins or whether that’s a natural part of the healing process but the veins have shrunk even more so I feel that when summer returns I will happily be back in shorts again – also the first time in many years!
Overall I am absolutely delighted with the results and thankful that I was able to have the opportunity for surgery. I would recommend laser surgery with a local anaesthetic over general anaesthetic any day.
*Please note this is an affiliate link, if you make a purchase I receive a commission at no extra cost to you. For a 20% discount use the code LIBERTY20.