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Varicose veins

  • Alternative Names

    Varicosity; Varicosis


    Treatment is usually conservative. You will be asked to avoid excessive standing, raise your legs when resting or sleeping, and wear elastic support hose.

    You may need surgery or nonsurgical treatment for:

    • Leg pain, often described as heavy or tired
    • Skin ulcers or sores that are caused by poor blood flow through the veins
    • Improving the appearance of the legs
    • Lipodermatosclerosis - fatty tissue under that skin that hardens over time, caused by high blood pressure in a vein

    Vein stripping is surgery to remove varicose veins in the legs. It is usually reserved for patients who are having a lot of pain or who have skin ulcers.

    Noninvasive treatments for varicose veins do not involve surgery. Examples are:

    • Sclerotherapy
    • Laser ablation
    • Radiofrequency ablation

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    Varicose veins tend to get worse over time. You can ease discomfort and slow varicose vein progression with self care.

    • Phlebitis (chronic inflammation of the vein)
    • Formation of leg ulcers
    • Rupture of a varicose vein

    Calling your health care provider

    Call for an appointment with your health care provider if:

    • Varicose veins are painful
    • They get worse or do not improve with self-treatment, such as keeping the legs elevated or avoiding excessive standing
    • Complications occur, including a sudden increase in pain or swelling, fever, redness of the leg, or leg ulcers