There is only one way to remove varicose veins, and this is surgery to cut off and take out the veins. However, there are a number of other varicose vein treatments available to minimize the appearance of affected veins. These procedures are primarily cosmetic in nature, designed to shrink the swollen and noticeable veins, but not to solve the problems leading to the development of varicose veins. The appearance of swollen veins is common as people age and in cases where people are exposed to the elements frequently, breaking down and damaging the veins.
Compression therapy is one option for treating varicose veins. In this treatment, compression stockings are worn to keep veins from swelling. This treatment can also sometimes help prevent the development of varicose veins. For people on their feet a lot and individuals with certain types of edema, compression may be recommended as a preventative therapy.
Another option is sclerotherapy, where drugs are injected to seal veins off. This procedure leaves the vein intact, but with no blood flowing through it, it will shrink down and become invisible from the surface. Surface lasering can be used in much the same way. For deep varicose veins, a surgical laser or radiofrequency occlusion procedure can be performed to close up a vein so it will no longer be visible.
Finally, to remove varicose veins, a surgeon can perform a procedure where problem veins are tied off and then cut out of the body. This can be done in several different ways, including by making small incisions with local anesthesia and essentially fishing the vein out of the body so it can be cut out. These procedures to remove varicose veins are usually designed to leave major veins intact in case they need to be used for venous grafting in the future.
The advantage of surgery to remove varicose veins is that there is no chance they will return. With occlusion procedures, it is possible for the clot or other occlusion to fragment, allowing blood to fill the vein again and causing the recurrence of varicose veins. In surgery, the offending vein is removed entirely and the body reroutes the blood supply. However, it is possible for other veins to become varicose over time. After surgery to remove varicose veins, patients may want to discuss options for reducing the risk of developing new varicose veins, such as wearing compression stockings to limit swelling.