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What are the treatments for Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged veins that are visible under the skin. At their worst, they look like bunches of grapes lying beneath the skin and at their least severe they can take the form of thread veins (also known as spider veins), which are smaller and do not protrude from the skin. Any superficial vein can become varicose or develop into a thread vein if the blood does not flow through the venous system quickly enough, and the thin walls surrounding the veins stretch.

At their worst, varicose veins can result in toxins leaking onto the tissues of the ankle and calf, ultimately causing ulceration of the skin. There are therefore compelling clinical reasons to operate on a significant number of people with this problem. There are also many people who are not at risk of developing ulceration, but who dislike the unsightly varicose or thread veins. No one wants to feel ashamed of their legs, especially if it limits what you feel comfortable wearing or where you feel comfortable going.

There are multiple treatments for varicose veins, and the best choice of treatment for each individual takes into account the pattern of disease, the aims of treatment, the size of the veins affected and the symptoms they are causing. 

Some treatment options for varicose veins include:

+ Radiofrequency ablation: A probe is threaded into the vein which is the source of the varicosities below. The probe delivers microwave energy to the lining of the vein to heat it up which causes it to close. 
+ Endovenous laser treatment: This technique is very similar to radiofrequency ablation, although laser is used to close the vein instead of microwaves.
+ Sclerotherapy: A chemical is injected directly into the visible varicose veins, which causes them to close. This treatment option may take several sessions and is suitable for smaller veins only.
+ Phlebectomies: Sometimes surgical removal of the visible varicose veins is the best option. This is done through tiny incisions made with a needle.
+ Ligation and stripping: In some cases, traditional surgery may be the best option. Small incisions are made at the top and bottom of the target vein which is then removed.

Please see one of our vascular surgeons to discuss which of these treatments may be right for you.

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