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Leg vein therapies

Author: Dr Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand,1997.

Why remove leg veins?

Leg veins can be unsightly and may sometimes ache, feel heavy or cause cramps. Varicose veins may increase the risk of gravitational eczema, lipodermatosclerosis (a hardening of the tissues of the lower leg), swelling (lymphoedema) and leg ulceration.

How can leg veins be removed?

Methods of removing leg veins include:

Surgery for larger varicose veins

Endovenous laser and radiofrequency occlusion therapy

Sclerotherapy

Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy

Mechanical ultrasound guided sclerotherapy

Vein glue

Vascular lasers and light devices

Other techniques under evaluation include steam thermal ablation and high frequency ultrasound ablation.

Outcome after treatment

Whatever treatment is used, new enlarged veins may appear. Further treatment is usually possible. In many cases, two or more techniques may be combined for best effect.

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