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Varicose veins - what to ask your doctor

Definition

Varicose veins are abnormally swollen, twisted, or painful veins that are filled with blood. They most often occur in the legs.

Below are some questions you may want to ask your health care provider to help you take care of your varicose veins.

Alternative Names

What to ask your doctor about varicose veins; Venous insufficiency - what to ask your doctor; Vein stripping - what to ask your doctor

Questions

What are varicose veins?

  • What causes them? What makes them worse?
  • Do they always cause symptoms?
  • What sort of tests do I need if I have varicose veins?

Do I need to treat my varicose veins? If I do not treat them, how quickly will they get worse? Are there serious complications or problems if I do not treat them?

Are there medicines that can treat my varicose veins?

What are compression (or pressure) stockings?

  • Where can I buy them?
  • Are there different types?
  • Which ones would be best for me?
  • Will they get rid of my varicose veins, or will I always need to wear them?

Which procedures for varicose veins do you perform?

  • Sclerotherapy?
  • Heat ablation or laser ablation?
  • Vein stripping?

Questions to ask about different procedures for varicose veins are:

  • How does this treatment work? When would it be a good choice for treating my varicose veins?
  • Where is this procedure done? Will I have any scars? What are the risks?
  • Will my varicose veins come back after this procedure? Will I still get new varicose veins on my legs? How soon?
  • Does this procedure work as well as other treatments for varicose veins?

References

Goldman MP, Weiss RA. Phleblogy and treatment of leg veins. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, et al, eds. Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2012:chap 155.

Kabnick LS, Sadek M. Varicose veins. In: Cronenwett JL, Johnston W, eds. Rutherford's Vascular Surgery. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 58.

Review Date:8/22/2016
Reviewed By:Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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