Treatment of varicose veins and spider veins varies greatly depending on the severity and location of the problem veins. There are non-invasive, non-surgical, and surgical methods for treating varicose veins and spider veins.
Non-Invasive Treatment of Varicose & Spider Veins
Compression hose, also called compression stockings, are the typical non-invasive method prescribed for the management of varicose veins and spider veins. They provide support to the vein walls and help reduce and prevent venous reflux, meaning they aid in the prevention of blood flowing back into the veins. Learn more about using compression stockings for the treatment of varicose veins and spider veins here.
Additional non-invasive treatments include adopting lifestyle behaviors to promote vein health by improving blood flow and minimizing any pooling of blood inside the veins. It is recommended to avoid sitting and standing for long periods and avoid exposing the legs to heat. Elevating the legs while resting and engaging in regular aerobic activity are also a part of conservative varicose vein and spider vein treatment protocols. Vascular specialists refer to this method of managing varicose veins and spider veins as ESES (pronounced SS) which stands from exercise, stockings, elevation, and stillness.
Non-Surgical Treatments of Varicose & Spider Veins
Sclerotherapy is considered the “gold standard” in treating spider veins and small to medium sized varicose veins. The procedure involves the injection of a sclerosing solution into the targeted veins, which eventually swell shut and heal into scar tissue. There are several types of sclerotherapy including micro sclerotherapy, ultrasound sclerotherapy, and foam sclerotherapy.
Laser and Intense Pulsed Light therapy treats spider veins and small surface varicose veins by exposing them to heat through the skin’s surface. The heat does not damage the skin but causes the walls of the vein to shrink, collapse, and eventually heal into scar tissue. Laser and intense pulsed light therapy can be used alone or as a complement to sclerotherapy for the treatment of spider veins.
Minimally-Invasive Surgical Treatments of Varicose & Spider Veins
Endovenous ablation treats varicose veins by using heat to ablate, meaning remove, the troublesome veins. In this minimally invasive procedure the problem varicose veins are exposed to heat which causes them to shrink, collapse, and eventually heal into scar tissue. Laser endovenous ablation uses heat from a laser to treat varicose veins, while sound waves act as the heat source in radiofrequency endovenous ablation.
Phlebectomy is a surgical procedure performed under local anesthetic that treats superficial varicose veins by removing them from the body with a special tool. The treatment can only be performed on superficial varicose veins, meaning veins located near the skin’s surface. A vascular medicine specialist can help determine if microphlebectomy, ambulatory phlebectomy, or transilluminated powered phlebectomy are the right treatment for your varicose and spider veins.
Surgical Treatments of Varicose and Spider Veins
Vein Stripping and vein ligation involve the surgical excision of large varicose veins. The procedures are performed under general anesthesia. Deep venous pharmacomechanical thrombosis is used to treat and remove clots that have formed in deep varicose veins. The procedure is used to address concerns about blood clots breaking away and moving to the lungs, heart, or brain. It is not a treatment for varicose veins, per se, however it addresses one of the most serious health risks associated with extensive deep varicose veins.