Back in the Summer I wrote about my biggest body insecurity and the procedure I was booked to have to tackle it – a varicose vein operation to remove prominent veins in my legs that both looked pretty bad AND caused discomfort. Now a few months on, I thought it would be a good time to update on the experience and results so far. You can have a read of my first post about it all HERE – with a bit of background, why I decided to go for it and the details of the operation, although I’ve recapped below.
Firstly, the main part of the procedure was one called EVLA – The EVLA treats the underlying cause of the varicose veins. Then I also had some micro phlebectomy to treat the visible ‘branch’ varicose veins. It’s billed as a ‘walk in, walk out’ procedure and whilst it definitely is – it’s also worth noting that if you’re considering it, it’s not a total walk in the park as it fundamentally is an operation so this is to be expected. But want to be totally open and transparent about my experience so if there’s anyone else considering it they know what they’re going in to in advance.
EVLA – varicose vein operation treatment
I had the procedure at The Private Clinic of Harley Street with my consultant being Mr Rittoo. I was immediately put at ease when I met him as he was friendly and with a calming manner. I was of course nervous, having never had any form of operation in my adult life. But Mr Rittoo – who saw me for my consultation, operation and follow up – plus his team were all fantastic. In particular the nursing staff too, who were very caring and comforting when was having a bit of a nervous wobble on the operation table.
One thing I should note here is whilst I have visible varicose veins in both legs (one being the more swollen kind and one being the more blue-coloured kind) and the original plan was to operate on both. There was a small mix up in scheduling that meant back in June when I had the operation I only had one done. The Private Clinic have of course been very accommodating in terms of offering to schedule the second procedure so I still hope to go back to have the other leg sorted as soon as I can – the only delay currently being the whole ‘pregnant’ thing meaning I can’t until after the baby arrives. But I very much hope to be able to go back and have the second leg done when I can.
About the op itself. Well, it was of course pain-free as the anaesthetic takes any pain away but there was some discomfort as whilst I couldn’t feel pain I could feel the actual process – mainly in the form of poking/prodding. But not pain at all, just a bit of a surreal experience – the way I described it at the time was ‘feeling like someone was trying to put a lego brick under my skin’. I know that probably doesn’t sound all that lovely, but it is the way I’d describe the sensation – but again, no pain just a bit of an odd feeling really.
The shot below is an ‘accidental before’ shot – taken last September in gorgeous Antigua. I was pestering the husband to help me take photos on the whole trip (FYI hair os wet. not greasy…) and this one effectively captured the thing I was most insecure of – the unsightly vein on my left leg. You can see below, it was visible on around half the length of my inner thigh of my left leg – with some marks around my upper calf too (no shown here). This is the shot I sent to The Private Clinic when we were first talking about potentially trialling the operation.
The operation itself didn’t take long and I was indeed able to walk out straight after. Walking to the tube and taking myself home. One thing to be aware of is the level of bandaging and post-op rest required. The bandage for the first day or two is a full toe-thigh (obviously would vary on where your veins were but assuming leg in this case) which was fine beyond feeling like I had one Popeye like leg. Once those bandages come off there are two further ‘layers’ of bandage. Fairly large ones covering the main operation, plus smaller plaster-sized ones covering each incision point. You can remove all but the smaller plaster sized ones fairly quickly after the operation and once these have gone it’s easy to shower and go about your day as normal. Even with the larger bandages it’s not glaringly obvious at all – the day after the operation I had a day of consulting work to do so I headed off on the train and spent the day in a meeting room and no-one would have noticed had I not mentioned it myself.
At this point in recovery I am four months post-operation. The bruising was pretty extensive but went down within around three weeks, leaving only a scattering of red marks where each incision was made. These are still healing and I apply bio oil or other rich hydrating creams to help them on their way daily. I have a small area that has some numbness around the ‘main’ bit where the vein was – this is normal and a potential side effect. Occasionally (every few days or so) I have a tingling or sudden sharp moment in the area which I put down to the ongoing healing as the numbness has definitely subsided over the time since the operation and I can feel more sensation coming back. I am hopeful that the sharp moments will subside as it continued to heal too.
The below is a snap of my leg (left) that had the procedure as it is now – totally unedited/filtered/flattered with fake tan… The small incision marks around where the majority of the surgery was are still visible as they are still in the process of healing. I’m actually quite lucky though as I have freckled legs so they sort blend in, and helps make them look less obvious whilst they’re still healing. Of course my legs are in ‘winter mode’ now, which means they’re as pale as they come and would probably look a good few points nicer with a tan but I wanted to be totally transparent (a little like my leg skintone…) and show them as-is. But this does remind me I need to crack out my favourite Vita Liberata again!
EVLA Vein Treatment – The Private Clinic of Harley Street
Overall I am really happy with the EVLA treatment I received from The Private Clinic Harley Street – whilst the treatment is minimally invasive, especially compared to older forms of Varicose Vein treatment – it’s definitely not one to go into without your own research. Know what you’re signing up for, including recovery times, potential risks and side effects. The consultants at The Private Clinic are really helpful for answering any questions you might have and of course if you have any questions for me do let me know.
Whilst it’s walk-in/walk-out, this doesn’t mean it’s like a simple bikini wax or something. There are a lot of factors to consider. For me the one I probably overlooked was the recovery time and healing process as I assumed with the sort of procedure you can walk out from that would be it – done and dusted! But that was my own naivety going in – so hopefully even if you’re just considering this treatment and reading this post you will have a bit more of an overview of what to expect from someone who has experienced it. Of course please do ask me any questions you have about the operation if you’re considering it at all – any I can answer I will, and if I cant I will check with The Private Clinic for more ‘official’ answers!
I am really delighted when I look at my leg and no longer see the varicose vein there that made me feel so insecure. I can’t wait until next Summer when the small incision marks that remain will hopefully be all healed and I can wear shorts without feeling like an awkward turtle. I really hope I am able to get the other leg sorted post-baby too, as I know pregnancy can aggravate existing varicose vein issues so I know it can only get worse! But I would 100% return to The Private Clinic for the same treatment again and would trust them to take good care of me for that second leg.
Thank you to The Private Clinic of Harley Street for working with me on this treatment and review – it really has made a difference to my overall confidence and it’s amazing to have that feeling that you can make a choice to deal with and ‘fix’ something that I felt so over-aware of whenever it came to exposing my legs.
If you’re interested in more information on the EVLA or other vein procedures at The Private Clinic of Harley Street: theprivateclinic.co.uk/treatments/veins
Treatment provided by The Private Clinic of Harley Street for Review.