Varicose Vein Treatment Options

Posted on: 23 June 2020

The Society for Vascular Surgery reports that approximately 35 percent of people in the United States have varicose veins. Women are at greater risk than men for developing this condition, though both men and women are susceptible to getting varicose veins. Also, women who have had multiple pregnancies, and people who are obese have a greater risk of developing varicose veins. If you are one of the millions of people in the U.S. living with this condition, you will definitely want to know about your varicose vein treatment options.

Why is Varicose Vein Treatment Necessary?

For a long time, varicose veins were treated as cosmetic issues that most insurance plans did not cover for treatment. Symptoms were believed to be limited to more benign problems, such as:

  • Skin changes
  • Swollen legs.
  • Cramping legs.
  • Heavy sensation in the legs.
  • Discomfort or pain.
  • Itching around the ankles and legs.

More recently we've learned that failing to seek varicose vein treatment can result in leg ulcers, chronic sores, blood clots in superficial veins, or deep vein thrombosis, which is a life-threatening condition. For these reasons, varicose vein treatment is something you should take seriously if you're one of the many Americans living with this condition.

How to Treat Varicose Veins?

You should always work in conjunction with a medical practitioner when seeking to treat varicose veins. Your primary care provider may recommend that you see a vein specialist before moving forward with treatment. Before seeking surgical options, however, physicians and specialists alike may recommend lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly, losing weight, and elevating your legs. Some may suggest that you wear compression stockings to promote circulation, relieve swelling, and reduce pain.

If these changes do not provide effective relief, your physician or vein specialist may recommend moving forward with more aggressive varicose vein treatment options, such as:

  • Sclerotherapy. Injection of scarring agent into the veins that works wonders on tiny spider veins but is less effective on larger veins.
  • Thermal ablation. The vein is heated with radio-frequency waves or lasers, effectively destroying the vein wall so that it shrinks away and is ultimately absorbed by the body.
  • Microphlebectomy. A non-surgical procedure that involves making a series of small incisions in the skin around the vein then using a hooked instrument to remove the vein. No stitches required.
  • Ligation. Surgery that ties the veins through small incisions made in the skin. This surgery helps prevent blood from pooling.
  • Vein stripping. Surgery to remove the superficial saphenous vein in the leg. This surgery may be performed with general anesthesia or with an epidural.

The better you understand your varicose vein treatment options, the better position you are in to make informed decisions about your care.