November 27


About Varicose Vein Surgery and the Options

By Dr. Edward Mackay

November 27, 2018

About Varicose Vein Surgery

Varicose veins are notorious for their appearance of being violaceous, swollen, and twisted on the legs, but also for causing symptoms of pain.  The most common symptoms are swelling, muscle cramps, throbbing pain, thickening of the skin, color change of the skin, and a heavy sensation in the legs.  

There are treatments that can be performed at home that are able to help symptoms.

  1. Elevating the legs at the end of the day can help to move blood through the veins with the help of gravity.
  2. Compression stockings can be put on first thing in the morning to help compress the legs to alleviate and reduce symptoms of swelling.  
  3. Exercising can increase contraction of muscles that squeezes the veins to move the blood toward the heart and can help with weight loss.  
  4. Avoidance of heat, such as hot showers or hot tubs, as this can increase blood flow to the veins through the process of vasodilation. 

The types of conservative treatments listed above are often helpful to alleviate the symptoms of varicose veins; however they may become ineffective or do not provide enough relief of symptoms.

To book an appointment with Dr. Mackay or ask a question, call 1-727-261-0047 or fill out an appointment request form.

Surgical Options for Varicose Veins

The alternative therapies for the treatment of varicose veins include both surgical and minimally invasive procedures.

Surgical procedures have been performed for many years and were the primary option to treat varicose vein.  Surgery is invasive and requires an operating room and general anesthesia.

Vein Stripping

  • Vein stripping is the common name given to the surgical procedure to treat varicose veins.  For this procedure, the patient is under general anesthesia and is not conscious for the procedure.  Incisions are made at both ends of the varicose vein and the veins are tied at either side and then the vein is removed, or “stripped”.

Minimally Invasive - Sclerotherapy & Endovascular Laser

Minimally invasive options are typically performed in the doctor’s clinic or office and do not require extensive incisions.  The minimally invasive techniques available are ablation procedures. 


  • Sclerotherapy is a type of minimally invasive procedure that is performed in the clinic.  Special medication is used to numb the area around the vein that will be treated.  The procedure is usually performed through ultrasound guidance and the a specific chemical, called a sclerosing agent, is then placed inside the vein that causes the inside of the vein to scar, closing off the vein.  Blood flow is diverted to other veins in the leg instead of the varicose vein.  Sclerotherapy tends to work best on smaller varicose veins or 

Endovascular Laser

  • Endovascular Laser Therapy (EVLT) is another type of minimally invasive procedure performed in the clinic.  Similar to sclerotherapy, the procedure uses ultrasound to locate the vein and ensure proper placement of the materials.  An incision is made into the vein in question and catheter, which is a hollow tube, is inserted into the vein.  The catheter acts as a passage to place the endovascular laser, and once in place the catheter is removed.   The endovascular laser uses a type of light radiation to destroy the vein, causing it to scar and close off. Learn more about Laser Treatment for Varicose Veins.

Find out it Varicose Vein Surgery is Right for You

There are a lot of things to consider when looking at options to treat your varicose veins, such as if the procedure is right for you and the potential complications of each procedure.  If you have tried the home therapies and still have consistent and daily pain, it may be time to decide if one of these procedures is right for you.  

To book an appointment with Dr. Mackay or ask a question, call 1-727-261-0047 or fill out an appointment request form.

Meet Dr. Mackay

 Contact the office of Dr. Edward Mackay, a board certified vascular surgeon providing services to patients in the Tampa area.

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