Varicose veins are a very common source of embarrassment and can cause pain and damage to the skin and occasionally lead to leg ulcers. New treatments are now available that are less invasive with a quicker recovery time, making dealing with them easier than ever.

New treatments for varicose veins

Mr Shane MacSweeney is an experienced specialist full time vascular surgeon offering the latest treatments for varicose veins, abdominal aortic aneurysms, and stroke prevention.
What are varicose veins?


Blood has to flow uphill in the veins from the feet to return towards the heart. One way valves in the veins  help this process. In varicose veins the one way valves in the veins under the skin do not work properly and this puts the veins under pressure. In turn they bulge and stretch making them look distended and ugly and ache. If the veins are bad this can eventually lead to damage to the skin (liposclerosis) and eventually leg ulcers, although luckily most people will never get these.

How are varicose veins treated?


The idea is to stop blood flowing downwards in the wrong direction. There are two lots of veins  in the leg, the deep veins, which are deep inside the leg and much bigger than the surface veins. As long as these are working properly, then the varicose veins  can be removed or sealed off to stop blood flowing in the wrong direction. There are several ways to do this. The old fashioned way was to “strip” the varicose veins but this is unnecessarily invasive and most specialists have abandoned this treatment method. Instead the vein can be sealed from inside with a catheter (e.g. radiofrequency ablation or lasers, which does not require any cuts). Smaller veins can be treated with foam sclerotherapy in which a substance is injected in them to seal them off. The veins can also be physically removed via small nicks in the skin. They can even be sealed off 
with superglue!

How do I know which treatment is best for me?

All the different treatments mentioned have their pros and cons.  It is important to get an ultrasound scan of your veins, which will show exactly which veins are involved and how bad they are.  You should then see an expert who can offer all the different treatments.  You can then tailor the treatment  to your particular varicose veins and to your preferences.  There is no one treatment which is best for everyone.

Photography: ©  Ulia Koltyrina -


Mr MacSweeney sees private patients at the Park Hospital Nottingham NG5 8RX (North of Nottingham), Spire Hospital Nottingham  NG12 4GA (South-East of Nottingham) and private and NHS patients at the Circle Nottingham NHS Treatment Centre NG7 2FT (in the grounds of the Queens Medical Centre).

To make a private appointment to see Mr MacSweeney telephone his PA Amy Troke on 0115 896 7660 or email

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