Eye Care: The Wonders of Technology

3 Treatment Approaches For Varicose Veins

by Stella Robinson

Varicose veins are commonly viewed as unsightly, but in some cases they can cause significant pain. Whether you simply want them removed for cosmetic reasons or to alleviate pain, there are several methods to help your legs look and feel better.


Sclerotherapy is one of the easiest methods of eliminating varicose veins. This procedure may be more appropriate for varicose veins that are unsightly, but not painful. Sclerotherapy can be performed in the clinical setting within minutes. Varicose vein injections are done by inserting a small needle into the veins under the skin and injecting a substance that instantly causes the problematic veins to collapse. Larger veins can be treated using similar methods, but visualization of these veins may require ultrasound guidance. Newer methods of sclerotherapy use a combination of chemicals that are injected with multiple needles to create a foam that causes the blood vessel walls to expand and block blood flow.

Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency ablation is commonly used to reduce large varicose veins that affect the back of the calf. During the procedure, the area is numbed so a catheter can be inserted into the appropriate vein. Once the catheter is inserted, an electrode is fed through the catheter to emit radio waves. These waves generate heat directly inside the vein, which quickly causes the vein to become sealed. Eventually, the body will absorb the sealed vein. Since radiofrequency ablation targets the vein, there is no pain and the surrounding skin and soft tissues are unlikely to be damage, unlike laser treatments for varicose veins. Additionally, the results of radiofrequency ablation are immediate, which is beneficial for people who have pain associated with their varicose veins.


In some cases of varicose veins, the problematic vein may be large, painful, and would not be effectively treated with less invasive methods. There is also the possibility previous treatments on a varicose vein were not effective. During a phlebectomy, the problematic vein is removed with just local anesthesia. Superficial veins can be accessed with a small incision, even if they are large. Although the procedure is slightly more invasive than some other treatments, one of the advantages is that the vein will never cause additional problems since it has been removed. It is always possible that nearby veins may eventually varicose and require treatment.

Fortunately, most instances of varicose veins are purely a cosmetic concern. With many approaches to eliminating varicose veins, most people can have their varicose veins treated without a major surgery.