A ‘LIFE-changing’ treatment for varicose veins has given a mum-of-four the courage to wear dresses again after the condition battered her self-confidence for 20 years.

Joanne Twist, from St Helens, first noticed her varicose veins in her 20s.

What started as a couple of lumps on the back of her leg, developed into varicose veins all over her leg and thread veins around her ankle, making it ‘black’ and swollen.

But she can now wear a dress with confidence for her son’s wedding this year thanks to treatment at Veincentre in Liverpool.

(Image: Her legs before)

The 54-year-old said: “I started developing them in my 20s when I was pregnant with my second child.

“But it does run in my family too, my brother has them and so did my grandad.

“It just got worse and worse. My leg was bruised, my ankle was black and swollen. I didn’t have any pain but it impacted my mental health.

“I couldn’t wear skirts or shorts. If I went to a wedding I’d have to wear trousers. I’d only have my legs out on holiday after I’d had a spray tan.

“Last year when I came home from holiday, my ankle had swelled so much in the heat that I couldn’t put shoes on. I went to the doctor for the first time then and had physio to help.”

Joanne’s condition didn’t cause her any pain, so the NHS couldn’t offer her treatment. When her brother got his veins treated, Joanne started looking at options for her own.

Her legs beforeHer legs before (Image: Before)

She said: “I have four children so I never had the time or money to do it but now they’re grown up. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s been life-changing for my confidence.”

The initial consultation was in early February, she had an Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) treatment two weeks later on both legs.

“In my consultation, the doctor noticed a lump on my other leg which was the start of varicose veins. So he treated both legs to prevent it developing,” Joanne explained.

“I walked in and walked out again. It only took two hours. My dad came with me and he was surprised that I was able to walk out.

“I was anxious about choosing to have the procedure and having the local anaesthetic was uncomfortable but then I couldn’t feel anything when the treatment was undertaken. I completely relaxed when the first leg was done.”

Joanne, who works as a HR Director, worked from home the day after her procedure but returned to the office that week.

After treatmentAfter treatment (Image: After treatment)

She added: “I’m so glad I finally did it. I’d thought about it for years, especially when I was invited to weddings, as I couldn't wear what I wanted to wear.

“I’ve been on holiday since and my wardrobe was completely different. I’ve also bought a dress for my son’s wedding. I really didn’t want to wear trousers for that.”

EVLA is the procedure of destroying the affected veins, from the inside, with a laser.

Dr Nirmal Kakani, Consultant Interventional Radiologist of Veincentre said: “This procedure is performed under local anaesthetic. An ultrasound scan is used to guide the laser into place, which is then slowly pulled along the faulty valves, delivering heat to seal the vein.

“This is repeated on all of the veins that have been identified as causing your varicose veins. It’s a gold-standard treatment and usually patients are in and out in around 2 hours.”

Set up in 2003, Veincentre specialises in the latest minimally-invasive procedures for varicose veins, thread veins and leg ulcers. With over 35 clinics nationwide and over 50,000 treatments completed, Veincentre has high-quality facilities and experienced staff with specialist knowledge.

For more information visit veincentre.com.