There are several different treatments available for varicose veins. In the first instance, a doctor will generally recommend exercise, putting feet up, and wearing compression stockings. For those who still find their varicose veins to be troublesome, the following options can be explored:
A procedure called ‘ClosureFast™’ uses radiofrequency energy or heat to close the damaged vein. This redirects blood flow to healthy veins. Local anaesthetic is applied to the treatment area. After treatment, compression stockings need to be worn for at least a week3. ClosureFast™is a very common procedure which has treated over two million patients worldwide.
This involves injecting a special type of glue into the vein to seal it. The procedure is carried out under local anaesthetic. A delivery catheter is guided by ultrasound to deliver the glue. People who have this method of treatment are less likely to need to wear compression stockings afterwards.
Before the treatments described above, the traditional way of sorting varicose veins was a process called ligation and stripping. This is still in use today, and involves removing the vein – usually under general anaesthetic. Two incisions are made and a wire is passed through the vein to pull it out. This can cause pain, bruising and bleeding and potential nerve damage. In some cases, it can even cause deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot in a vein). It can take up to three weeks to recover from ligation and stripping. Patients have to wear compression stockings for up to a week afterwards.
Proebstle TM, Alm BJ, Göckeritz O, et al. Five-year results from the prospective European multicentre cohort study on radiofrequency segmental thermal ablation for incompetent great saphenous veins. Br J Surg. February 2015;102(3):212-218.