Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted veins. They usually occur in your legs.
Varicose veins don’t usually cause problems. But, if they are painful or you don’t like the way they look, you may want to seek treatment.
Treatment may also help prevent blood clots from forming in the event you have a future surgical procedure, such as a total hip replacement.
Some patients may have: discolored skin, throbbing, aching or cramping, itching, recurrent skin infections, bleeding, or ulcers.
Most cases of varicose veins can be treated with the following procedures: sclerotherapy, surface treatments using laser or microelectric devices, phlebectomy, and endovenous ablation.
These procedures: can be done in your doctor’s office, require no large cuts, and have a short recovery period.
You may need more than one treatment over several weeks to see results.
Sclerotherapy works best on smaller veins and spider veins. In this procedure, a chemical is injected into the vein.
The chemical irritates and scars the vein. This causes the vein to close off and fade away.
Surface laser and microelectric treatments are used to treat smaller veins near the skin surface.
In these procedures, the heat from small bursts of laser light or electric current make the vein fade away.
A phlebectomy is also used to treat smaller veins near the skin surface. During a phlebectomy, a tiny cut is made in the skin over the vein.
Then, the vein is pulled out and removed. Endovenous ablation is a procedure to treat deeper varicose veins.
In this procedure, a flexible tube, called a catheter, is inserted through a small cut into the vein.
The catheter is used to send heat from either laser light or radio waves into the vein. The heat closes off the vein and causes it to fade away.
On rare occasions, your health care provider may advise a more invasive procedure, such a vein stripping. It’s usually performed in a hospital, and may require more recovery time.
Usually, two or three cuts are made in the skin over the damaged vein. Then, the vein is tied off and pulled out through the lower cut.
As with any procedure, there are risk as well as benefits. Talk to your healthcare provider to see what type of varicose vein treatment may work best for you.