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Less scary, more effective – Modern, non-surgical treatment options for varicose veins.
Skin Institute
August 28, 2018

Varicose veins are dilated, swollen veins in the legs. They may initially be small but can often progress to become very visible on the skin, appearing blue, twisted and bulgy. However, no matter what the size of the varicose vein they can cause aching, heaviness, itchiness and swelling in the legs. For some sufferers, if left untreated, varicose veins can cause changes to the skin resulting in poor healing, rashes, discolouration, and skin ulcers in the lower legs. Varicose veins can be unsightly and can dramatically limit your quality of life and the health of your legs.

Even so, many sufferers put off seeking treatment. This is often a result of misconceptions about treatment – many people with varicose veins remember seeing a parent or grandparent go through invasive, painful vein-stripping surgery and think that’s the only option.

Fortunately, that is no longer the case. There are now a number of very effective ways to treat varicose veins that are non-invasive and minimally painful. They no longer require days of downtime or discomfort – in fact, most of our vein treatments are walk-in/walk-out. This makes them much easier to fit into a busy schedule.

If varicose veins are limiting your life, one of Skin Institute’s not-so-scary treatment options could help.

Treatment Journey

It all starts with Duplex Ultrasound Mapping of the legs to uncover the source of your varicose veins. The varicose veins you see may be the result of a faulty vein higher up in the leg and beneath the skin, which may not be visible. For an effective treatment, we must treat the source of the problem before we treat what we see in the leg. The mapping isn’t painful and takes up to an hour. At the same time, you’ll also have a consultation with one of our specialist vein doctors, who will carefully explain your results and the best treatment options for your varicose veins.

Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) and Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)

EVLA and RFA are often used to treat the underlying cause of your varicose veins. These minimally-invasive treatments cauterise the larger faulty vein(s) and turn off the tap to the varicose veins you see in your legs. The procedure is done under local anaesthetic with minimal discomfort, and takes about an hour. It’s a walk-in/walk-out procedure, and you can go back to work the same day. This procedure has replaced surgery in treating most cases, and can be done in conjunction with Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy.

Treatment details

First, you will receive a small dose of local anaesthetic to numb the area. Under ultrasound guidance, a fine fibre is passed into the affected vein. Lots of local anaesthetic is then placed around the vein to be treated, to make the procedure pain-free.  Once the faulty vein is treated, it’s immediately sealed off, and over time the body reabsorbs it.


Most people walk out of the clinic comfortably, but some may need to take over-the-counter pain relief for a few days. You will need to wear compression stockings night and day for two weeks, and then as needed during the day for another two or three weeks. These help boost circulation and promote healing.

We recommend avoiding strenuous activity and international air travel for four weeks, but a gentle 45-minute walk every day is an important part of your recovery.

Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy

This treatment involves injecting a foamed sclerosant solution under ultrasound guidance into affected veins. This causes them to collapse, dissolve, and ultimately disappear. Using the ultrasound allows your vein doctor to accurately place the solution, targeting only the faulty veins. Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy can be done in conjunction with RFA or EVLA, or as a stand-alone procedure for smaller or recurrent varicose veins.

Treatment details

Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy treatments usually take around 30 minutes. Using ultrasound guidance, your specialist veins doctor will inject each vein –some veins may need more than one injection.

The solution works by damaging the faulty veins, causing them to collapse, dissolve, and disappear over the following three to six months. Your specialist vein team will see you regularly over the following year to check your progress and book you in for more injections if needed. Spacing out treatment in this way ensures it is as safe and effective as possible.


After treatment, you should be able to return to most normal activities without any downtime. However, once again, we advise no international air travel for four weeks, and daily walking of 30-45 minutes for two weeks after treatment.

It’s also best to plan treatment well in advance of major events such as weddings. Veins may look bruised and feel tender and lumpy immediately after treatment, and you will need to wear compression stockings for at least one week – not ideal if you’re planning to wear a party dress. This also makes winter the perfect time to seek treatment, when you can hide everything under winter layers.

Don’t let your veins slow you down

Ready to get rid of your painful, embarrassing veins and improve the health of your legs? Now that non-surgical options are so simple and effective, there’s no need to be afraid to seek treatment.

The experts at Skin Institute have decades of experience treating problem veins, so they will be able to assess your situation and recommend the most effective, least invasive treatments available.