How Varicose Vein Treatment Works
Varicose vein treatment relieves symptoms, prevents complications, and reduces the appearance of swollen, twisted veins that sometimes appear on the legs and feet.
Varicose Vein Treatments
There are two main types of varicose vein treatments: lifestyle changes and medical procedures.
Lifestyle changes are usually the first line of treatment for varicose veins, especially if the diseased veins cause very few or mild symptoms. You can adopt many of these lifestyle changes on your own at any time, without the supervision of a vein doctor.
To treat varicose veins with lifestyle changes:
- Avoid sitting or standing for long periods
- Do not sit with your legs crossed, as this traps blood in the veins of your lower legs
- Keep your legs elevated whenever you sit, rest or sleep to help blood move upwards and out of your lower legs
- Engage in physical activities that get your legs going and improves muscle tone to prevent blood from pooling in your lower legs
- Wear low-heeled shoes that tone your calf muscles
- Lose weight; excess weight presses against veins and makes it harder for blood to move through those veins
- Avoid wearing clothing that is tight at the waist, upper thighs and legs, as tight clothes can make varicose veins worse
These lifestyle changes can prevent existing varicose veins from worsening, reduce pain and delay the formation of new varicose veins. There are no side effects to home treatment with lifestyle changes.
In addition to these lifestyle changes, your vein doctor may suggest compression stockings. These stockings are especially tight to apply gentle pressure on the leg, which prevents blood from pooling and decreases swelling. There are three main types of compression stockings: support pantyhose that applies the least amount of pressure; over-the-counter compression hose that offers moderate support; prescription strength compression hose that applies maximum pressure to the lower legs.
Vein doctors sometimes recommend medical procedures for severe varicose veins that cause pain, blood clots or skin sores on your ankles. The goal of these medical procedures is either to remove the diseased vein or to close it. After surgery, the body reroutes blood to nearby veins and absorbs any remaining vein remnants into the surrounding tissue, leaving skin looking smooth and youthful.
There are several varicose vein treatment options. Vascular surgeons can perform these as outpatient procedures in your nearby vein clinic.
Sclerotherapy – uses a chemical to close the vein. A vein doctor performs sclerotherapy by using a needle to inject a chemical sclerosant into the diseased vein.
VNUS Closure (Venefit Procedure) – uses ultrasound waves to close the varicose vein. The vein surgeon performs VNUS Closure by inserting a thin, flexible catheter into a small opening in the skin to deliver the ultrasound waves.
Ambulatory Phlebectomy – removes varicose veins through tiny cuts in the skin. The doctor numbs the treatment area around the vein before performing the procedure.
Common side effects for medical varicose vein treatment include bruising, slight pain, swelling and skin discoloration.