November 10, 2021 The Vein Institute

Varicose veins come in all shapes and sizes, from small veins to bulging, gnarled networks the weave across the legs. Whether you’re looking to stop them from getting worse, avoid complications or more serious issues developing or just want to have smooth legs again, there are plenty of reasons to have your varicose veins treated. If you’re wondering how does varicose vein treatment actually work, then wonder no more! We have put together an easy to understand the outline of how varicose veins are treated and how to make sure the results last.

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are caused when vein valves aren’t functioning properly. When the vein valves become weak or faulty, they can no longer propel blood back to the heart and instead, blood collects in your vein. It’s currently the most prevalent venous condition in the country, affecting almost one-third of the population. Largely impacting the legs and feet, varicose veins can form in other parts of the body as well.

Venous insufficiency, which is one of the leading causes of varicose veins, is highly complex and can have multiple risk factors. While the exact reason venous insufficiency develops is often unknown, having more than one risk factor can increase your chances of developing the condition.

Learn more: Varicose vein causes.

How does varicose vein treatment actually work?

While there are several different ways to treat varicose veins (learn more here), for the most part, the core principle is the same.

The aim of varicose vein treatment is to redirect blood away from these damaged veins and into the healthier blood vessels. This is done in several different ways depending on the nature of the damaged vein.


This technique works by heating the vein from the inside with a special laser fibre. Ablation causes the blood to clot and harden, blocking off the blood flow in the whole vein (blood is then redirected through healthier veins). The sealed vein is then reabsorbed by your body. There are two types of ablation, Endovenous Laser and Radiofrequency, your doctor will decide which will deliver the best results.


This technique is very similar to ablation, but works by injecting a special solution into the affected vein. The sclerotherapy solution causes the vein walls to contract inwards and “collapse” sealing off the vein. This vein is eventually reabsorbed by the body.


By inserting a very fine catheter into the vein, the doctor injects tiny amounts of medical superglue at intervals of 1-3cm. As this dries in the vein, it seals it off to redirect the blood flow and leaves the vein inactive.

Vein Stripping

This procedure is quite different from the rest as it needs to be performed in a hospital, under general anaesthetic. The surgeon clamps off the vein at either end and then severs it. Then, using a special wire device pulls the veins completely out of the leg through a small incision. Typically there’s an extended recovery period with varying levels of pain.

In the majority of these cases, the process is quite quick and relatively pain-free. By isolating and treating the vein, and allowing the body to reabsorb the varicose vein itself, it leads to a relatively quick recovery period.

Worried about the pain? While it’s hard to say exactly how it will feel for you, most patients describe it as between 0 to 3 out of 10, with some people not finding it painful but rather slightly uncomfortable. Learn more: Is varicose vein treatment painful?

Diagram showing a normal vein vs a varicose vein.

Seek expert advice

The doctors at The Vein Institute specialise in varicose vein treatment. We offer patients a comprehensive program using non-surgical laser treatment techniques. You can learn more in our Definitive Guide to Varicose Vein Treatment.

The benefits of non-surgical varicose vein treatment are:

  • Walk-in walk-out treatment
  • 98% success rate
  • Extremely effective
  • Can be performed at a clinic (no hospitalisation)
  • No general anaesthetic
  • Medicare rebates apply
  • No downtime or time away from work

To book a consultation and discuss our treatment program, call  1300 981 402. Or, make an enquiry via the Contact Us page.