Two out of every five people will develop varicose veins in their lifetimes, and 40% of Americans struggle with the condition.
Varicose veins usually appear in the legs and feet, though some older adults may also develop them in the arms. They bulge out from the skin with a characteristic ropelike appearance and are usually dark blue or purple.
Some people experience no pain or discomfort with their varicose veins. Others struggle with pain, itching, skin discoloration, or other symptoms. Whether or not your varicose veins cause physical discomfort, there are noninvasive and virtually pain-free treatments that can help. Here’s where to start to find the best treatment for varicose veins.
Varicose Vein Treatment Options
Not long ago, treating varicose veins meant undergoing invasive surgery. Today, multiple minimally invasive options offer aesthetic improvement and symptom relief, often without downtime.
VenaSeal is a chemically-based varicose vein treatment. It uses specially designed medical adhesive to seal the damaged vein, causing the body to redirect blood through nearby healthy veins. In one study, 97% of patients experienced complete blood closure and improved quality of life.
Microfoam treatment seals the affected vein using an FDA-approved injectable chemical called polidocanol. This gentle and safe chemical foams within the affected vein, disrupting its inner lining, causing it to collapse. Many vein specialists describe this treatment using its brand name, Varithena.
Thermal ablation uses heat energy instead of chemicals to seal the damaged vein. There are two types of thermal ablation:
- Endovenous laser ablation (EVLA): Sends precise laser energy through a small catheter to the affected vein
- Endovenous radiofrequency ablation (RFA): Delivers radiofrequency energy through a small electrode
Most patients start to see results from thermal ablation within a week, but it may take a few weeks for the veins to fade fully.
Known commercially as ClariVein, mechanochemical ablation (MOCA) is a newer varicose vein treatment. It uses a rotating catheter to introduce a chemical called a sclerosant, which gently irritates the affected vein and causes it to close.1
ClariVein is FDA-approved and has a 97% success rate and faster recovery than many other treatments. Unfortunately, many insurance companies don’t yet cover this treatment, opting instead to cover more conventional therapies.
Choosing the Best Treatment for Varicose Veins
The best varicose vein treatment depends on the details of your condition. Before recommending any varicose vein treatment options, a vein specialist will consider the affected veins’ location, size, and severity.
You’ll have a more productive conversation with a vein specialist if you arrive informed. Here’s what to do before your first visit.
Describe Your Condition and Goals
A veins specialist will want to know as much as possible about your condition. Be ready to explain:
- How long you’ve had varicose veins
- If and how quickly they seem to be worsening
- Any vein symptoms you’ve noticed (swelling, heaviness in the legs, muscle cramping, skin changes, etc.)
- Your cosmetic concerns
- Whether you’ve tried any natural treatments or topical creams
- Whether you’ve had varicose vein or spider vein treatments in the past
Consider how you feel now and how you want to feel after treatment regarding symptoms and aesthetics. Do you want to treat all your varicose veins or only the more severe ones? Be as specific as possible so your vein specialist can develop the best treatment plan.
Research Your Options
You’ll be able to understand more at your first appointment if you know what varicose vein treatments are available. Read about contemporary treatments like those described above, sticking to reputable sites like My Vein Treatment. You can also look at manufacturers’ websites and research studies for details about specific treatment options.
Consider Insurance Coverage and Budget
The cost of varicose vein treatment varies from patient to patient. Most insurance plans will cover at least some of the cost, but only if you experience physical symptoms like pain, leg fatigue, or skin discoloration. Contact your insurance company to verify your co-pay or coinsurance for vein treatment.
If you have no symptoms and seek treatment purely for aesthetic reasons, expect to pay out of pocket. A vein specialist can advise you on the cost of different treatment options. Pricing depends on location, physician, and the type and extent of your treatment.
Book an Appointment
Your next step is to bring your research and questions to a vein specialist.
Your first vein specialist appointment will involve a consultation and preliminary exam. The specialist will ask you about your varicose vein history and your goals for treatment. They’ll look at your veins and will use an ultrasound to get a better picture before recommending treatment options.
Ask if you need a referral if you plan to use insurance to pay for treatment. Many plans require a referral from your primary care doctor for any specialist visit. Bring your insurance cards and any necessary paperwork for the first visit.
Getting Started With Vein Treatment
Advances in medical science have made varicose vein treatments quicker, easier, and more comfortable than ever. As a result, many patients can return to work the same day and start seeing improvement in just a few days.
A vein specialist is always your best resource for treatment information. They can recommend the best treatment for varicose veins, given your medical, personal, and financial needs.
Use My Vein Treatment’s specialist locator tool to find a vein specialist, or ask your doctor for a referral. It’s not too soon or too late.
1. RxList: ” How Do Sclerosing Agents Work?“