Specific treatment for varicose veins will be determined by your physician based on:
- your age, overall health, and medical history
- extent of the condition
- your signs and symptoms
- your tolerance of specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
- expectations for the course of the condition
- your opinion or preference
Medical treatment may not be necessary if there are no symptoms. However, varicose veins may sometimes worsen without treatment. Treatment for varicose veins involves both surgical and nonsurgical approaches.
Nonsurgical methods for treating varicose veins include:
- elevation of the legs
You may be instructed to elevate your feet above the level of your heart three or four times a day for about 15 minutes at a time. If you need to sit or stand for a long period of time, flexing (bending) your legs occasionally can help keep blood circulating. If you have mild to moderate varicose veins, elevating your legs can help reduce leg swelling and relieve other symptoms.
- compression stockings
These elastic stockings squeeze or compress the veins and prevent blood from flowing backward. In addition, compression stockings may help with healing of skin sores and prevention of additional sores. Compression stockings are effective in treating varicose veins if worn daily and may prevent the need for more invasive treatment.
Sclerotherapy is the most common treatment for both spider and varicose veins. This procedure involves a saline or chemical solution that is injected into the varicose veins that causes them to harden so that they no longer fill with blood. Blood that would normally return to the heart through these veins returns to the heart by way of other veins. The veins that received the injection will eventually shrivel and disappear. The scar tissue is absorbed by the body.
- laser treatment
Laser treatment is a type of treatment for varicose veins. Until recently, laser treatment was mainly used for treatment of spider veins on the face. However, newer laser technology can now effectively treat varicose veins as well. There are several types of lasers that may be used to treat varicose veins. The physician inserts a tiny fiber into a varicose vein through a catheter. The fiber sends out laser energy that destroys the diseased portion of your varicose vein. The vein closes and your body eventually absorbs it.
Ablation involves the insertion of a thin, flexible tube called a catheter inserted into a varicose vein. The tip of the catheter heats the walls of the varicose vein and destroys the vein tissue. Once destroyed, the vein is no longer able to carry blood and is absorbed by your body.
Surgical approaches to the treatment of varicose veins include:
- vein stripping
This procedure involves tying off all varicose veins associated with the leg's main superficial vein and removing it from the leg. The removal of veins from the leg will not affect the blood circulation in the leg as deeper veins will be able to take care of the increased blood circulation.
- small incision avulsion
This procedure involves passing hooks through small incisions, and may be done alone or together with vein stripping.
- transilluminated powered phlebectomy
This vein removal procedure makes use of a bright light to illuminate the vein. A device is passed through a tiny incision and removes the vein with suction.
Preventing varicose veins:
Steps to prevent varicose veins include maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and elevating the feet while sitting. Avoid clothing that constricts your waist, groin, or legs, shoes with high heels, and crossing the legs while sitting. While these measures may help prevent varicose veins in some people, they may only slow the onset of the condition in individuals who are susceptible.