Treatment of Varicose Veins of the Leg
- Chemical ablation (called sclerotherapy)
- Radiofrequency (heat energy) or laser ablation
- Vein stripping
- Surgery (called phlebectomy)
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Reasons for Procedure
- Recurrence of varicose veins
- Skin discoloration at the surgical site (usually goes away within a few weeks)
- Deep vein thrombosis (blood clot)
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Evaluate your deep and superficial vein systems and decide which veins will be removed
- Do an ultrasound—a test that uses sound waves to examine the veins in your legs
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs (eg, aspirin )
- Blood thinners, like clopidogrel (Plavix) or warfarin (Coumadin)
- Wear special support stockings.
- If you have a stasis ulcer, wear Unna boots. This is a type of cast that will aid in healing the ulcer.
Description of the Procedure
After the Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
- Sclerotherapy—short office visit
- Radiofrequency or laser ablation—1 hour
- Vein stripping—1-1½ hours
- Phlebectomy—2-4 hours
Will It Hurt?
- If you had vein stripping, keep your legs elevated while you are resting. This will help to minimize pressure on your veins.
- If you had sclerotherapy or ablation, resume normal activity within a few hours.
- Wear an elastic bandage (eg, ACE bandage) for the first 24-48 hours, or as instructed by your doctor.
- Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions. You may need to have another ultrasound done.
Call Your Doctor
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
- Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
- Pain, burning, urgency or frequency of urination, or persistent bleeding in the urine
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- Leg swelling
American College of Phlebology http://www.phlebology.org/
Society for Vascular Surgery http://www.vascularweb.org/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index%5Fe.html/
Varicose Veins http://www.evlt.ca/
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Rakel R, Bope E, Conn Howard. Conn's Current Therapy 2005 . 57th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2005.
Teruya TH. New approaches for the treatment of varicose veins. Surgical Clinics of North America . 2004;84(5):1397-1417.
6/2/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 00/92/2012 -