Varicose Vein Treatment

The Ultimate Guide to Varicose  Vein Treatment

a leg with a red spot and a arrow with a animated image of a veins on microscopic level

Varicose veins are a common condition that affects millions of people around the world. They occur when the veins in the legs become enlarged, twisted, and bulging, causing discomfort, pain, and an unsightly appearance. Fortunately, there are various treatment options available to help manage and eliminate varicose veins, from minimally invasive procedures to lifestyle changes.

However, with so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to know which one is right for you. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for varicose veins, to help you make an informed decision about your health and wellness.

What Causes Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are caused by weakened or damaged valves in the veins that allow blood to flow backward and accumulate, instead of flowing smoothly toward the heart. As a result, the veins become enlarged, twisted, and bulging. The exact cause of varicose veins is not always clear, but several factors may increase the risk of developing this condition, including:

family on top of a hand

As you get older, the valves in your veins may weaken, making it harder for blood to flow properly.

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Women are more likely to develop varicose veins than men, partly due to hormonal changes during pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause.


If you have a family history of varicose veins, you may be more likely to develop them yourself.

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Being overweight or obese can put extra pressure on your veins, making it more difficult for blood to circulate properly.

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Prolonged standing or sitting

Jobs that require long periods of standing or sitting can lead to weakened valves in the veins.

pregnant belly

Pregnant women experience increased pressure on their veins due to the growing fetus and hormonal changes, which can lead to varicose veins.

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Injury or trauma to the legs may damage the veins and lead to varicose veins over time.

Other medical conditions: Some medical conditions, such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), may increase the risk of developing varicose veins.


two doctors studying a case

When you visit a healthcare provider for varicose vein diagnosis, they will start by taking your medical history and asking about your symptoms. They may ask you about any family history of varicose veins, any recent injuries, or any other medical conditions you may have. This information can help determine if you are at a higher risk for developing varicose veins and if there are any underlying health conditions contributing to your symptoms.

During the physical examination, the healthcare provider will look for any visible signs of varicose veins, such as bulging, twisted veins on the surface of the skin. They may also check for swelling, skin changes, or ulcers that may be present.

If varicose veins are suspected, your healthcare provider may recommend further diagnostic tests. Doppler ultrasound is a commonly used non-invasive test that uses sound waves to create images of the veins and check for blood flow abnormalities. The test can help identify any blood clots or other obstructions in the veins.

Venography is another diagnostic test that involves injecting a contrast dye into the veins, followed by X-rays or MRI scans to help visualize the veins and any blood flow issues. Magnetic resonance venography (MRV) and computed tomography venography (CTV) are other imaging tests that can create detailed images of the veins and blood flow.

By performing these diagnostic tests, your doctor can determine the extent of the varicose veins, the underlying cause, and develop an appropriate treatment plan. If you suspect you may have varicose veins, it's important to seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Non-invasive Approaches for Treating Varicose Veins

Non-invasive approaches for treating varicose veins are usually the first line of treatment, particularly for mild to moderate cases. These approaches aim to improve blood flow in the affected veins, reduce swelling, and relieve symptoms such as pain and discomfort.

Here are some non-invasive approaches for treating varicose veins:

Lifestyle modifications

Simple lifestyle modifications can go a long way in preventing and reducing the symptoms of varicose veins. Regular exercise, particularly low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, or cycling, can help improve blood flow and strengthen the muscles that support the veins. Maintaining a healthy weight can also reduce the pressure on the veins. Additionally, avoiding prolonged standing or sitting can help prevent the blood from pooling in the legs.

Compression stockings

Compression stockings are specially designed to apply pressure on the legs, which helps improve blood flow and reduce swelling. They come in different types and strengths, ranging from mild to strong compression. Mild compression stockings can be purchased over the counter, while stronger ones may require a prescription. Here is how to use compression stockings if you are a beginner.

Herbal remedies and supplements

Some herbal remedies and supplements, such as horse chestnut extract, grape seed extract, and butcher's broom, are believed to improve blood flow and reduce swelling. However, it's important to talk to your healthcare provider before taking any supplements, as they may interact with other medications or have potential side effects.

Non-invasive approaches for treating varicose veins may provide relief from symptoms and prevent the condition from worsening. However, they may not be effective for severe cases, and more invasive treatments may be required. If you are experiencing symptoms of varicose veins, it's important to seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Minimally Invasive Treatments

Non-invasive approaches for treating varicose veins are usually the first line of treatment, particularly for mild to moderate cases. These approaches aim to improve blood flow in the affected veins, reduce swelling, and relieve symptoms such as pain and discomfort.

Here are some non-invasive approaches for treating varicose veins:

a leg with a doctor giving treatment with a needle
Cancer Infusion: Targeted Therapy.

Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive treatment that involves injecting a special solution into the affected vein. This solution causes the vein to scar and close off, forcing the blood to reroute through healthier veins. The treated vein eventually disappears over time. Sclerotherapy is commonly used to treat smaller varicose veins and spider veins.

a leg with a doctor giving treatment with a laser
Endovenous laser treatment (EVLT)

EVLT is a minimally invasive treatment that uses laser energy to close off the affected vein. During the procedure, a small incision is made in the skin, and a thin laser fiber is inserted into the affected vein. The laser energy heats the vein, causing it to close off and reroute blood flow to healthier veins.

showing what radio frequency does
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)

RFA uses radio frequency energy to close off the affected vein. During the procedure, a small incision is made in the skin, and a thin catheter is inserted into the affected vein. The catheter delivers radio frequency energy to the vein, heating it and causing it to close off.

a leg with a doctor doing a Ambulatory phlebectomy surgery
Ambulatory phlebectomy

Ambulatory phlebectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that involves making small incisions in the skin and removing the affected vein in small sections. The procedure is typically used to treat larger varicose veins that cannot be treated with non-invasive or minimally invasive treatments.

before and after picture of vein treatment

VenaSeal is a minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins that uses a medical adhesive to seal the affected vein shut. This procedure falls under the category of minimally invasive treatments for varicose veins. VenaSeal is performed using a small catheter that is inserted into the affected vein through a tiny incision. Once the catheter is in place, a medical adhesive is injected into the vein, sealing it shut and rerouting blood flow to healthier veins. This procedure does not require anesthesia, and patients can typically return to normal activities immediately following the procedure. VenaSeal has been shown to be safe and effective, with a low risk of complications. It is often used as an alternative to other minimally invasive procedures, such as endovenous laser treatment or radiofrequency ablation, for patients who cannot tolerate heat-based treatments or who have certain medical conditions that make them unsuitable for those treatments.

Minimally invasive treatments for varicose veins are a popular option for those who have not found relief from non-invasive treatments or prefer less invasive options. These treatments use advanced medical technology to target the affected veins and close them off, redirecting blood flow to healthier veins. Here are some minimally invasive treatments for varicose veins:

Surgical Treatments

Surgical treatments for varicose veins are considered the last resort when non-invasive and minimally invasive treatments have failed to provide relief or when the veins have become too large or complicated to be treated with less invasive methods.

Here is a more detailed overview of the different surgical treatments for varicose veins:

Stripping and Ligation

This is the most common surgical procedure used to treat varicose veins. The surgeon makes a small incision in the groin area to access the affected vein, which is then tied off and removed through another small incision in the lower leg. The procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia and may require a hospital stay. Recovery time can range from a few days to several weeks, depending on the extent of the procedure.

High Ligation and Vein Stripping

This procedure is similar to stripping and ligation, but it involves tying off and removing the vein higher up in the leg, closer to where the vein meets the deep venous system. This procedure is typically used for large varicose veins that cannot be treated with other methods. Recovery time and hospital stay are similar to stripping and ligation.

Vein Bypass Surgery

This procedure involves creating a new pathway for blood to flow around the affected vein. A graft, made from either a synthetic material or a healthy vein taken from another part of the body, is used to bypass the blocked vein. This procedure is used for more complex cases where multiple veins are involved or when the main vein in the leg is affected. Vein bypass surgery requires general anesthesia and a hospital stay. Recovery time can be longer than for other surgical procedures.

All surgical treatments carry some risks, including bleeding, infection, and nerve damage. However, these risks are generally low, and the benefits of the surgery often outweigh them. Your healthcare provider will evaluate your individual case to determine the most appropriate surgical procedure and the associated risks and benefits.

After surgery, you will need to follow your doctor's instructions for recovery, including wearing compression stockings, taking medication, and avoiding certain activities for a certain period of time. You will also need to attend follow-up appointments to ensure proper healing and monitor for any complications.


doctor evaluating a leg

Recovery from varicose vein treatment will depend on the type of procedure performed. Non-invasive treatments, such as compression stockings or lifestyle modifications, typically require little to no recovery time. Minimally invasive procedures, such as sclerotherapy or endovenous laser treatment, may require a short period of rest and recovery before returning to normal activities. Surgical treatments, such as vein stripping, may require a longer recovery period of several weeks.

Following varicose vein treatment, your doctor will provide detailed instructions on post-operative care, including any necessary restrictions or limitations on physical activity. It is important to follow these instructions carefully to ensure optimal healing and prevent complications.

You may experience some discomfort, bruising, or swelling in the treated area, but these varicose vein symptoms are usually mild and can be managed with over-the-counter pain medication and by applying ice to the affected area. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication to manage pain or prevent blood clots.

It is important to attend all follow-up appointments with your doctor to monitor your progress and ensure that you are healing properly. Your doctor may also recommend lifestyle modifications, such as regular exercise or weight management, to help prevent a recurrence of varicose veins.

With proper care and treatment, most patients are able to resume their normal activities within a few days to a few weeks after varicose vein treatment.

Who Treats Varicose Veins

a group of health care professionals with their hands together showing teamwork

There are several healthcare professionals who are trained to treat varicose veins. Vascular surgeons, interventional radiologists, and phlebologists are all qualified to diagnose and treat varicose veins. If you are experiencing symptoms of varicose veins, it is important to schedule a consultation with a specialist who can evaluate your condition and recommend the most appropriate treatment options.

At BASS Vein Center, our team of highly trained vascular specialists has extensive experience diagnosing and treating varicose veins. We use state-of-the-art technology and the latest minimally invasive techniques to provide our patients with safe, effective, and minimally invasive treatments. Our board-certified surgeons are leaders in their field, and our compassionate team of healthcare professionals is dedicated to providing personalized care to each and every patient.

If you are suffering from varicose veins, schedule a consultation with BASS Vein Center today to learn more about your treatment options. Our team will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your unique needs and helps you achieve optimal results. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the most effective treatment for varicose veins?

The most effective treatment for varicose veins depends on the severity of the condition. In general, non-invasive treatments such as compression stockings, exercise, and weight management can provide relief for mild cases. For more severe cases, medical procedures such as endovenous laser treatment (EVLT), radiofrequency ablation (RFA), and sclerotherapy may be necessary to remove or close off the affected veins. Consultation with a qualified physician is recommended to determine the best course of treatment for individual cases.

Can you reverse varicose veins without surgery?

While it is not possible to completely reverse varicose veins without surgery, there are non-surgical treatments that can alleviate symptoms and slow down their progression. These treatments include wearing compression stockings, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding prolonged periods of sitting or standing. Other treatments such as laser therapy and sclerotherapy can also help reduce the appearance of varicose veins. However, if varicose veins become severe or cause significant discomfort, surgery may be necessary to remove or close off the affected veins.

What foods make varicose veins worse?

There are certain foods that can worsen varicose veins by increasing inflammation, blood pressure, and the risk of blood clots. These foods include processed and fried foods, sugary drinks, salty snacks, red meat, and foods high in saturated and trans fats. Additionally, excessive consumption of alcohol and caffeine can also worsen varicose veins by dehydrating the body and dilating blood vessels.

Is varicose veins treatment expensive?

The cost of varicose vein treatment can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the type of treatment selected. Non-invasive treatments such as compression stockings are generally less expensive than surgical procedures such as vein stripping or endovenous laser therapy. However, insurance may cover some or all of the cost of treatment if deemed medically necessary. It is best to consult with a healthcare professional to discuss treatment options and associated costs.

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