Vein Center

UC San Diego Health offers state-of-the-art procedures for varicose veins and symptomatic venous insufficiency.

About Varicose Veins

Veins in the lower extremity (hip, thigh, leg, ankle and foot) carry blood from the legs to the heart. Types of veins in the leg include deep and superficial veins. In some people, the valves in the superficial veins do not work properly, which results in blood pooling in the legs. This blood pooling leads to increased pressure, resulting in enlarged, tortuous veins under the skin, called varicose veins.

Symptomatic venous insufficiency and varicose veins can result in leg pain, cramping, heaviness, tiredness, itchiness and leg swelling. Severe venous reflux can result in skin discoloration, severe swelling, and lower extremity wounds that do not heal well.

Treatment for Varicose Veins

We close the veins in the legs with either thermal ablation, a minimally invasive treatment using radiofrequency (RFA) or laser (EVLT) energy to cauterize them, or non-thermal ablation with VenaSeal which is a type of surgical glue that is becoming the standard for vein ablation. Both procedures successfully improve symptoms, and we discuss their benefits with each patient.

We may also use foam sclerotherapy with a local injection of a sclerosant to treat small varicose or reticular veins. Phlebectomy may also be performed to remove small pieces of varicose veins through tiny incisions.

Our specialists will see you for an initial evaluation to discuss symptoms and review your imaging results. We will also discuss conservative measures, such as exercise, weight loss and leg elevation. Compression stockings are often recommended before a treatment procedure is performed.

Varicose vein treatment does not require anesthesia and typically takes one hour to complete. Patients return home after the procedure and many people return to work the following day. You may experience discomfort for the following week, but you will be able to walk immediately after the procedure and complete most daily activities.