Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Varicose Veins Causes and Treatments


Varicose Vein Treatments
Varicose Vein Treatments

Some measures used to prevent varicose veins, like wearing compression stockings or elevating the feet, can be used to treat minor varicose vein conditions [source: Mayo Clinic]. There are also a number of medical treatments, most of which don't require you to check in to a hospital or take time off work.

In fact, many of the vein treatment procedures approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration can be performed at a physician's office. Most in-office procedures cost $300 to $400 for each treatment session [source: The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery].

Despite some advertising claims, however, varicose vein treatments don't offer a guarantee that you'll be hassle-free in the coming years. Although recent breakthroughs -- like laser treatments -- offer high success rates, they don't cure weak vein valves. This means that if you're prone to this problem, new varicose veins will probably develop in the future [source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services].

One of the most common non-surgical treatments is sclerotherapy, in which a solution is injected into the vein with a needle. This causes the vein to swell, seal shut, turn into scar tissue and fade within a few weeks [source: American Academy of Dermatologists]. This treatment can be up to 90 percent effective in "erasing" varicose veins, but difficult veins may need more than one treatment [source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services]. Other side effects can include bruising or swelling at the injection site [source: WebMD].

Other treatments use radiofrequency or laser energy to cauterize and close varicose veins. Also known as endovenous ablation, these treatments are non-invasive, require little downtime and are thought to be more effective than surgically removing the veins. Vein ligation and stripping, for example, is a surgical procedure during which incisions are made in the skin covering the vein. The vein is then tied and removed, and the incisions are closed with sutures [source: WebMD].

Wondering if there's a more natural route to get rid of varicose veins? Find out on the next page.