There are several methods of treating varicose veins, including injection therapy, surgery, and laser therapy. Injection therapy is mainly used to treat small varicose veins below the knee, and surgery is performed to treat larger veins. Surgery may be used to divide faulty perforating veins responsible for the formation of the varicose veins or to remove an entire varicose vein. Treatment may need to be repeated if the varicose veins recur.
Blood normally flows from the superficial veins into the deep veins along perforating veins. If the valves in the perforating veins are not working properly, there is a backflow of blood into the superficial veins, which leads to the formation of varicose veins. During the surgical division of faulty perforating veins, these veins are tied off and cut. Surgery is usually performed in hospital under general anaesthesia.
Injection therapy is used for small varicose veins below the knee. The procedure uses a mild irritant to make the walls of the varicose veins stick together and stop blood from entering them. For a week after the procedure, an elastic bandage is worn around the leg in order to compress the veins and help the vessel walls to stick together.
From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.