Cardiovascular Services

Varicose Vein Surgery

Varicose veins are a common problem that can lead to pain, inflammation and ulceration. Pregnancy, aging or weight gain can lead to varicose veins. When home treatment does not help symptoms, there are a variety of surgeries and treatments that can help.

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged, bulging and twisted veins that usually occur in the legs and ankles. They are caused by weakened veins where blood collects. Having varicose veins affects your circulation. Most often, they are not serious. But having varicose veins can be painful and a sign of more serious health problems, such as deep vein thrombosis.

Do you have varicose veins?

The following are signs and symptoms of varicose veins:

  • Bulging and enlarged veins in your legs and ankles

  • Pain and burning in the affected areas

  • Swelling of the feet and ankles

  • Itchiness in the area

  • Skin that is dry and thinning

  • Skin color changes

  • Open sores

Diagnosing varicose veins

Since varicose veins are easy to see, your provider will do a physical exam. Your provider will check for swelling, skin color changes, sores and other changes.

Your provider may order other tests to see whether there are problems with deep veins.

Non-surgical treatment of varicose veins

Home treatment for varicose veins includes:

  • Wearing compression stockings

  • Propping up your legs

  • Getting more exercise

  • Avoiding long periods of sitting or standing

Varicose vein surgery and treatment

The type of treatment often depends on the size of the varicose vein. Often a combination of treatments are used. Talk to your provider about which treatments are best for you.

The following treatments are done to close off the vein:

  • Sclerotherapy: chemical injection

  • Laser treatment (also called ablation)

  • Radiofrequency: Often used to close off large veins in the leg.

The following treatments are done to remove the vein:

  • Phlebectomy: Removal of the vein through incision.

  • Litigation and stripping: Vein is tied off and removed.

Next Steps for Patients

While some patients are candidates for self-referral to our cardiovascular specialists, we recommend that you ask your primary care physician for help with the process.

Provider Referrals

If you are a provider who would like to refer a patient for MaineHealth vascular services, please review our referral guidelines and call 207-662-8900