About varicose veins treatments
If you’re advised that you can have treatment for your varicose veins, there are a few different options. You can discuss with a consultant which one is best for you. Treatments include the following.
- Endothermal ablation. In this procedure, your surgeon heats up the walls of the problem vein, closing it off. Your doctor may use radiowaves or a laser to create the heat. The first method is known as radiofrequency ablation and the second endovenous laser treatment.
- Ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy. In this procedure, your surgeon injects special foam into the problem vein. The foam damages the inside of the vein causing it to close up.
- Ligation and stripping. In this procedure, your surgeon ties off the problem vein (ligation) to stop blood flowing through it. They’ll then remove it with a long rod (stripping) made of wire, plastic or metal.
You may also have a procedure called phlebectomy to remove problem veins from the surface of your skin. In this procedure, your surgeon will use hooks to pull out the veins through small cuts.
Sometimes varicose veins don’t need specific treatment. To help improve mild symptoms, your doctor may suggest wearing compression stockings, or advise you to:
- lose any excess weight
- keep active
- avoid doing things that make your symptoms worse, such as sitting or standing still for long periods of time
Causes of varicose veins
Varicose veins happen when blood pools in the veins. This occurs because certain valves that help your blood to flow in the right direction don’t work properly. It puts pressure on the walls of your veins causing them to swell.
Some people with varicose veins don’t get any symptoms. But if you do, they may include:
- swollen feet and ankles
- itchy skin or a burning feeling over the veins
- achy or heavy legs
- cramp in your legs – mostly at night
- a strong desire to keep moving your legs
Symptoms usually ease off when you raise your legs up and rest them, for example on a foot stool or when lying down.
Some people with varicose veins get:
- ulcers – breaks or openings in their skin
- changes in their skin, for example their skin may become a brown or a rusty red colour, and flakey or scaly
- bleeding from their veins
- inflamed – red, warm and swollen – veins
If you have any of the above symptoms it’s important to contact your doctor.