What is the Best Varicose Veins Treatment?

Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier

A varicose vein describes any vein in the body that has developed varicosities, making it bulge. For most people, this is merely a cosmetic problem that usually affects the legs. However, since veins are given the task of returning blood flow to the heart and lungs, the significance of varicose veins is more than skin deep. In fact, their presence may indicate a circulatory disorder, which can lead to thrombophlebitis and the formation of a blood clot. Fortunately, there is more than one varicose veins treatment available, all of which are generally non-invasive and don’t require hospitalization.

Varicose veins appear discolored and bulge out of the skin.
Varicose veins appear discolored and bulge out of the skin.

Unless the condition has already reached the point of threatening a blockage of blood flow, the first varicose veins treatment to implement is reducing physical stress to deter its progression. To that end, wearing compression stockings during the day can be of great help. As the name implies, this specialized hosiery is designed to compress the legs to promote circulation. To get the most benefit, the patient should be measured for an accurate fit as opposed to purchasing generic medical stockings off the shelf. This service is discretely provided by many pharmacies, often without a physician’s prescription.

Compression stockings is a conservative yet often effective treatment for varicose veins.
Compression stockings is a conservative yet often effective treatment for varicose veins.

Another varicose veins treatment is sclerotherapy. This procedure involves injecting targeted veins with a solution that causes them to shrink, making their appearance far less noticeable in a short time. However, sometimes this therapy has to be repeated. In addition, it isn’t suitable for varicose veins occurring above the knee.

Surgical vein stripping is an option when larger veins are affected. Contrary to its name, this varicose veins treatment involves just a few small incisions through which a troublesome vein is removed. While a bit more invasive than the therapies suggested above, it is performed on an outpatient basis. A similar procedure known as ambulatory phlebectomy is recommended for smaller veins.

Sometime, it is necessary to close off or seal the vein. Fortunately, this is possible without having to go under the knife. For instance, small veins and so-called “spider” veins can be eliminated through the use of laser surgery. Alternatively, the vein in question may be subjected to heat delivered from catheter-assisted device.

Finally, in advanced cases, endoscopic vein surgery may be in order if the varicose veins are deeper in the leg. While this procedure is also done on an outpatient basis, it may be more time consuming. As with some of the treatments described above, one or more veins are removed through small incisions. However, it is first necessary to insert a small video camera to guide the surgeon in locating and removing them.

In order to determine which is the best varicose veins treatment, it is first necessary to consult a physician. After a physical exam and visual inspection, an ultrasound will likely follow if there is any concern that there may be a blood clot. An ultrasound will also reveal if there are any abnormalities in valve functioning in the veins.

Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier

Contributing articles to wiseGEEK is just one of Karyn’s many professional endeavors. She is also a magazine writer and columnist, mainly for health-related publications, as well as the author of four books. Karyn lives in New York’s Catskill Mountain region and specializes in topics about green living and botanical medicine.

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Discussion Comments

sossydj

I wonder why the article has not mentioned anything about foam sclerotherapy, VNUS closure procedure or EVLT, all minimally invasive procedures for the treatment of bulging leg varicose veins.

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