The goals of
varicose vein treatment are to reduce symptoms and
prevent complications. For some, the goal may be improved appearance. Home
exercising and wearing compression stockings—is the first and often best
If home treatment does not help, there are procedures or a surgery that can treat varicose veins. These include:
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.
- Simple laser therapy is done on small veins close to the skin, such as spider veins. The laser is used outside of your skin.
- 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.
Phlebectomy. Several tiny
cuts are made in the skin through which the varicose vein is removed.
Ligation and stripping. Incisions are made over the
varicose veins, and the vein is tied off (ligated) and removed
Treatment may be needed 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 ligation and
stripping, laser treatment, 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, a procedure or surgery may be appropriate—as long as there are no other health problems that
make these treatments risky.
- Varicose Veins: Should I Have a Surgical Procedure?
What to think about
If you are thinking about having a vein
treatment, you may want to know which treatment is best for you. No single
approach is best for treating all varicose veins. Talk to your doctor about your
If you are considering a surgery or procedure, consider some
questions about treatment. These questions might
include: How much experience does the doctor have with the particular
treatment? How much do the exam and treatment cost?
All 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.