Varicose veins are very common. They are damaged veins that retain blood and are noticeably swollen on the surface of the skin. They can occur anywhere in the body but typically appear in the legs. Spider veins are smaller than varicose veins and affect your body’s capillaries, the smallest blood vessels. While varicose veins are only a cosmetic problem for most people, sometimes they can become uncomfortable and painful.
At UF Health, our expert team can reduce the unsightly appearance of the veins and provide relief for your discomfort with several minimally invasive procedures. For more severe cases, we also provide surgery to remove the veins and reduce your pain.
Varicose veins: What you need to know
- Varicose veins occur when the valves in your veins become weak or damaged. Instead of helping to move the blood back to the heart, the impaired valves allow the blood to pool and the veins to swell.
- Your physician may perform a vascular ultrasound to evaluate the blood flow in the veins and check for clotting.
- In many cases, nonsurgical techniques may be recommended, such as elevating your legs, which increases blood flow and reduces pressure in your veins.
- Losing weight and increasing exercise may also help prevent the varicose veins from worsening. Our physicians may also suggest compression socks or stockings to reduce soreness.
Varicose veins: Treatments
- Sclerotherapy is the most common treatment for varicose veins and spider veins. A chemical solution is injected into the veins, which causes them to harden and eventually fade away.
- Lasers or radiofrequency are minimally invasive therapies that can be used to deliver heat to destroy the damaged vein and improve overall blood flow.
- Phlebectomy, also referred to as microphlebectomy, requires small incisions to be made near the varicose vein. Using special tools, the damaged vein is removed through the incisions.
- In more serious cases, the veins are removed through vein surgery or stripping. The surgeon ties off the vein to prevent blood flow and removes it through small cuts in the skin, so it won’t reappear.
Why choose UF Health Jacksonville?
UF Health has a renowned team of University of Florida surgeons with a success rate among the highest in the nation. You can rely on their expertise — developed by years of experience performing complicated surgeries — to offer you the best chance to restore your health and your quality of life.
As a part of a leading academic medical institution, our surgical team can also offer you the most advanced research-based treatments for the best possible outcomes.