The goals of
varicose vein treatment are to reduce symptoms and
prevent complications. For some, the goal may be improved appearance. Home
wearing compression stockings, and
elevating the legs-is the first and often best
If home treatment does not help, there are a number of minimally invasive treatment
options. These include sclerotherapy, laser treatment, and radiofrequency ablation. Laser treatment and radiofrequency ablation may be used to treat larger varicose veins. Vein surgery, called ligation and stripping, is an option for severe varicose veins.
Sclerotherapy. A chemical (sclerosant)
is injected into a varicose vein to damage and scar the inside lining of the
vein, causing the vein to close. This usually works best for small
Laser treatment. Laser energy is used to scar and
destroy varicose veins. This is called ablation.
Endovenous laser therapy uses a laser fiber inserted into the vein. Laser
ablation inside the vein makes the vein close up.
Radiofrequency treatment. Radiofrequency energy
(instead of laser energy) is used inside a vein to scar and close it off. It
can be used to close off a large varicose vein in the leg. This ablation
treatment is new and may not be available in your area.
Ligation and stripping. Incisions are made over the
varicose veins, and the vein is tied off (ligated) and removed
Treatment may be necessary to remove the damaged veins,
treat complications, or correct an underlying problem that is causing the
varicose veins. The size of your varicose veins affects your treatment options.
Generally, larger varicose veins are treated with surgery (ligation and
stripping), endovenous laser, or radiofrequency treatment. In some cases, a
combination of treatments may work best. Smaller varicose veins and
spider veins are usually treated with sclerotherapy or
laser therapy on your skin.
Some people may want to improve how
their legs look, even though their varicose veins are not causing other
problems. In these cases, surgery, sclerotherapy, or laser or radiofrequency
treatment may be appropriate-as long as there are no other health problems that
make these treatments risky. For more information, see:
Varicose veins: Should I have a surgical procedure?
What To Think About
Doctors recommend home
treatment as a first step for varicose veins. This may be all you need to
relieve symptoms. But you may still want surgery or vein treatment if you are
not satisfied with their appearance or your symptoms are not well
If you are thinking about having surgery or a vein
treatment, you may want to know which treatment is best for you. No single
approach is best for treating all varicose veins. Sclerotherapy, endovenous
laser, or radiofrequency treatment may be best for smaller veins. Surgery may
work better for larger veins, though laser or radiofrequency treatment may also
work well. Talk to your doctor about your
Many treatment methods-including all types of surgery,
sclerotherapy, laser, and radiofrequency ablation-can scar or discolor the
Treatment can be more difficult for deep veins that are damaged or for perforating veins, which connect the deep and
superficial veins. These veins may be treated with surgery, radiofrequency ablation, or sclerotherapy, or a combination of these treatments.