Treatment of Varicose Veins of the Leg
- Sclerotherapy—injects the varicose veins with a chemical to shrink the veins
- Radiofrequency ablation—collapses and seals varicose veins using radiofrequency energy
- Adhesive sealing—seals the affected veins that are close to the skin using an adhesive
- Vein stripping
- A surgical procedure called phlebectomy
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Reasons for Procedure
- Recurrence of varicose veins
- Skin discoloration at the surgical site
- A blood clot, known as deep vein thrombosis
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Evaluate your deep and superficial vein systems and decide which veins will be removed or destroyed
- Do an ultrasound—a test that uses sound waves to examine the veins in your legs
- Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to 1 week before the procedure.
- Wear special support stockings.
- If you have a stasis ulcer, wear Unna boots. This is a type of cast that will aid in healing the ulcer.
Description of the Procedure
After the Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
- Sclerotherapy—short office visit
- Adhesive sealing—short office visit
- Radiofrequency or laser ablation—1 hour
- Vein stripping—1-1½ hours
- Phlebectomy—2-4 hours
Will It Hurt?
- If you had vein stripping, keep your legs elevated while you are resting. This will help to minimize pressure on your veins.
- If you had sclerotherapy or ablation, resume normal activity within a few hours.
- Wear an elastic bandage for the first 24-48 hours, or as instructed by your doctor.
- Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions. You may need to have another ultrasound done.
Call Your Doctor
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
- Pain that you cannot control with the medications you have been given
- Pain, burning, urgency or frequency of urination, or persistent bleeding in the urine
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- Leg swelling
American College of Phlebology http://www.phlebology.org
American Society of Plastic Surgeons http://www.plasticsurgery.org
Canadian Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery http://www.csaps.ca
Canadian Society for Vascular Surgery http://canadianvascular.ca
Merchant RF, Pichot O, Closure Study Group. Long-term outcomes of endovenous radiofrequency obliteration of saphenous reflux as a treatment for superficial venous insufficiency. J Vasc Surg. 2005; 42(3):502-509.
Varicose veins. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 29, 2013. Accessed August 8, 2013.
Varicose veins. VascularWeb website. Available at: http://www.vascularweb.org/vascularhealth/pages/varicose-veins.aspx. Updated January 2012. Accessed August 8, 2013.
Varicose veins and spider veins fact sheet. US Office on Women's Health. Available at: http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/varicose-spider-veins.cfm. Updated June 2, 2010. Accessed August 8, 2013.
6/2/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.
3/16/2015 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed : US Food and Drug Administration. FDA approves closure system to permanently treat varicose veins. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm435082.htm. Published February 20, 2015. Accessed March 16, 2015.
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO
- Review Date: 08/2013 -
- Update Date: 03/16/2015 -