How are varicose veins treated?

Whether it’s a postpartum leftover or a product of age and time — bulging blue vein on your leg is always an unwelcome guest.

While not everyone gets the painful symptoms that can accompany those dreaded varicose veins, some people opt for treatment to make them disappear.  


“There are many different modalities to treat varicose veins,” said Dr. Alissa Brotman-O’Neill, a vascular surgeon at The Princeton Vascular Center in Princeton, New Jersey. “We can, a lot of times, shrink the varicose veins without ever removing them. But if they remain, we can either inject them with certain medicine or remove them.”

Here are some of the options for treating varicose veins:

Lifestyle changes

The first line of defense against varicose veins is practicing simple self-care measures to make sure the existing problem doesn’t get any worse by doing things like avoiding sitting or standing for long periods of time, elevating your legs, exercising, losing weight and wearing compression stockings.


A procedure where your doctors inject small and medium sized varicose veins with a foam solution to close off the vein.

Laser treatment

A non-invasive procedure that uses bursts of light to close off smaller veins and reduce the appearance of spider veins significantly.

Radiofrequency or lasers treatments using catheters

Doctors insert a catheter into the vein which then heats up using laser energy or radiofrequency, which collapses and seals the vein shut. However the heat, Brotman-O’Neill noted, puts patients at risk for nerve damage.

Mechanochemical ablation

Newer procedures like ClariVein use mechanical destruction of the vein with a catheter in combination with a sclerosing agent to treat varicose veins and their underlying causes.


Severe cases may require more invasive procedures like endoscopic vein surgery.