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Varicose Veins


Varicose veins are veins that become large, twisted, and swollen. They are common on the back of the calves, knees, and thighs. Varicose veins are caused by valves in your veins that do not work properly. This causes blood to collect and increase pressure in the veins of your legs. The increased pressure causes your veins to stretch, get larger, swell, and twist.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.


  • Blood tests may be done to get information about your overall health.
  • A Doppler ultrasound is a test that uses sound waves to show pictures of your veins on a monitor. It is done to show how blood flows through your veins and to check for blood clots.


  • Ablation is a procedure that uses heat to close off big varicose veins. Healthcare providers insert a catheter into your vein while using an ultrasound to guide them. This catheter gives off heat through radiofrequency or laser energy.
  • Phlebectomy is surgery done to remove big varicose veins. During ambulatory phlebectomy, healthcare providers make small incisions in your skin and pull out the affected vein using a hook or forceps. During power phlebectomy, a device with a rotating blade destroys the varicose vein. Vein pieces are then removed by suction that is connected to the device.
  • Sclerotherapy is a procedure done to seal a varicose vein. Your healthcare provider injects a solution into your vein. This solution causes the vein walls to swell and close, preventing blood from going through. This procedure may be done with the use of ultrasound to guide healthcare providers.
  • Stripping is another procedure that may be done. The affected vein is tied off to stop blood from flowing through it. It is then removed from your leg using a wire, plastic, or metal rod.


You may have numbness or bruising at the area where the varicose vein was treated. Even with treatment, varicose veins may come back. Without treatment, varicose veins may cause leg pain. An injury in the area of your varicose veins can cause them to bleed. Sometimes, ulcers may form on the skin near varicose veins because of too much pressure inside the veins.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.