Other treatments for varicose veins
- Surgery: If your varicose veins are large and uncomfortable, you can get them surgically removed. This is often done under general anesthesia and, if it’s on one leg, you can usually go home. If surgery is required on both legs, an overnight stay at a hospital is recommended.
- Laser surgery: Lasers are used to remove small varicose veins. It’s usually done as a follow up to surgery.
- Ligation and stripping: A surgeon will make two incisions in your leg and remove the veins. This does not require an overnight stay at a hospital. The negatives include bruising, bleeding, pain in some cases, and between one and three weeks of recovery time.
- Scleortherapy: Your physician will inject a small chemical (usually sodium tetradecyl sulfate) into small and medium-sized veins, resulting in scarring and closing the veins. After a few weeks, the veins should fade. Sometimes, repeated treatments are necessary.
- Transilluminated powered phlebectomy: A special light called an endoscopic transilluminator is threaded through the veins and is removed with a suction device through an incision in your leg. Local anesthesia is used, and bleeding and bruising after the operation can occur.
- Radiofrequency ablation: This is a small incision in your leg and a narrow catheter, which emits a radiofrequency, is threaded into the vein. This causes the vein to heat up and collapse. This is often done with a local anesthetic.
- Endovenous laser treatment: A catheter is inserted in the vein, and a small laser is threaded through that catheter to emit short energy bursts that seal the vein. This is done under local anesthesia. There may be some temporary nerve pain.
If you have varicose veins, talk to your doctor. If they don’t bother you, you can forgo treatment. If you are unhappy with the way they look of if they hurt, you can get them removed.
If you want them removed, talk to your doctor. At the exam, you will stand while he checks your legs for signs of swelling. A Doppler test, which is an ultrasound scan, will check the direction of the blood flow in your veins. It also looks for blood clots and any blockage in your veins.
A color Duplex ultrasound scan can also be done. Like its name, it provides color images to identify anything that’s abnormal.
Your physician will be able to advise you about these options, and together you can discuss which one is the best treatment for you.
October 24, 2017
Christopher Nystuen, MD, MBA