Why is Winter the best time to get your varicose veins fixed?
In the dreary days of January it feels impossible to believe that the sun will shine again. During the period of post Christmas abstinence, few patients are thinking about getting their legs fixed up for the summer. Yet this is exactly the best time to get your varicose veins and thread veins sorted out. How can that be?
The reason is that even in the modern era of minimally invasive, local anaesthetic vein treatment, patients will inevitably have several weeks of bruising and marks on the legs after EVLT surgery or injection sclerotherapy. Treatment for these very common conditions has massively improved in the last few years, but we remain surgeons – not magicians!
For the first week after treatment, there will be a significant amount of bruising and lumpiness on the leg – that’s expected after any sort of surgery. After that the main bruising will fade quite quickly, but there will still be visible marks and some palpable lumps on the leg for about 6 weeks.
How long until there are no more visible marks?
It takes about 8 – 12 weeks from having vein treatment until the leg looks at its best – for patients with a lot of spider veins (or thread veins) it may take even longer for all the marks to fade away.
When we fix veins, there is always a degree of bruising. Blood from the veins or in the veins is visible through the skin, especially so in patients with fair skin such as most people in the UK. This is because the iron pigment in the blood haemoglobin, gets into the top layers of the skin and takes a while to be broken down and removed by your body. This is a chemical reaction and it will take its own time – the worse the veins are to start with, the longer it will take. There are a few things we can do to speed it up – like regular application of Vitamin E cream for example, but for the most part, time and patience are required.
So, having treatment done during the winter months, when most people are wearing trousers anyway, makes a lot of sense. No one is going to notice the bruises when you are on the ski slopes. Every year we see patients coming to the clinic in late May or early June, asking us to fix their legs up for summer holidays in July or August – we can certainly fix the veins, but things are not going to look perfect that quickly – you need to give us a decent chance to fix the damage! Get your veins fixed in January to March on the other hand and everything will be looking good by the summer months.
I can always tell which women have varicose veins in the summer-time because they are wearing trousers or long skirts when everyone else is in shorts…. So, if you don’t want to be wearing compression stockings when the sun is out, get your veins fixed soon.