What They Don’t Tell You About Varicose Veins Treatment

April 19, 2023 The Vein Institute

If you’ve been reading up on the condition, you likely know a lot about varicose veins treatment. But there are always some bits of information that slip through the cracks. So, we thought we’d go over some of the little-known facts about the procedures and what our patients are surprised to experience.


1. Delayed side effects of varicose veins treatment

Varicose vein treatments come with a few known side effects, including redness, swelling, bruising, and aches. What our patients are often surprised to learn is that most of these side effects won’t set in immediately after treatment. Instead, they’ll often develop in the following day or two. 

Modern sealing treatments like EVLA, RFA, and VenaSeal are very low-risk. You can effectively manage most of their side effects by combining gentle exercise, compression stockings, and (if pressed) over-the-counter pain relief. 


2. Surprising sensations post EVLA and RFA

women's legs while standing. She poses to show her right inner thigh, where you'll often feel a pull after laser treatment for varicose veins

There is one side effect that laser and radiofrequency patients get surprised by, and that’s a feeling of ‘tightness’ or a ‘pulling sensation’ along the line of the treated vein. This feeling generally crops up if their doctor treated the saphenous vein on the inner thigh and can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Don’t worry, though. The sensation is caused by the body’s healing response. Put simply, the treated vein shortens after it’s sealed through thermal energy, making it feel tighter than normal. Once your body fully absorbs the vein, the feeling will stop.


3. What you should know about hyperpigmentation after sclerotherapy

Hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) can happen after a sclerotherapy procedure. Hyperpigmentation is also known as Hemosiderin (iron) staining and is believed to develop with the accumulation of hemosiderin around a certain area. Hemosiderin is a broken-down version of haemoglobin, which helps red blood cells transport oxygen around the body. When these red blood cells get trapped in a sealed vein, the body will start to absorb them along with the vein. If a large enough amount got trapped, you may get some staining.

Hemosiderin staining can also happen after other vein-sealing treatments like EVLA. But luckily, this staining isn’t permanent. It will generally clear up on its own in a few weeks.


4. Varicose veins can come back if you or your doctor aren’t careful

First, we want to note that minimally invasive treatments have high success rates, with EVLA and RFA in the lead with 98% effectiveness. However, the treatment process doesn’t stop when you walk out of our clinic. To minimise symptoms and ensure good recovery, you’ll need to follow all post-op care instructions, including: 

  • Wearing compression stockings 
  • Elevating your legs for a few minutes a day
  • Going on 30-minute walks 
  • Avoiding strenuous exercise and long periods of sitting or standing for 3-5 days

Learn more: 9 Things to Do After a Varicose Vein Treatment 

There’s also a reason why we’re so careful about mapping out veins and why there are so many treatment options. If a vein doctor uses improper treatment (like sclerotherapy on a large vein, which should only be treated through EVLA, RFA, or in some cases, surgery), the vein may not close properly. And if they seal the wrong area, blood may still travel through the varicose vein, making treatment ineffective. 

Unfortunately, inexperienced doctors can make mistakes. But at The Vein Institute, all of our specialists have 15+ years of experience and use the latest imaging and treatment technologies. Your veins will be in safe hands.

Learn more: What’s the Best Treatment for Varicose Veins


5. How to wear compression stockings after varicose veins treatment

Woman putting on compression stockings as part of varicose veins treatment plan

Woman in her room pulling compression stockings onto her legs.

Compression stockings play an important role in helping the treated vein stay closed. They can also help manage swelling and aches that may follow treatment. But for maximum effectiveness, you’ll need to wear them correctly. 

  • We recommend wearing them constantly for 24 hours after your procedure, including at nighttime.
  • After that point, you can just wear the during the day. Make sure to put them on and take them off carefully. You should also take them off after you get in bed and put them on just before you get up to minimise the gravitational pull on the leg veins.
  • You’ll need to wear the varicose vein stockings for 3-5 days after your treatment. 

6. We can only treat veins at a certain stage

Varicose veins are a medical condition. But if you’re asymptomatic and aren’t concerned by how they look, you may not need medical varicose veins treatment – or at the very least, not yet. In these cases, we’d generally recommend conservative treatment like compression stockings, gentle exercise, and including more vein-friendly foods in your diet. 

Should the veins worsen, however, you’ll need to seek treatment. And in any event, we recommend getting a professional diagnosis and advice.


Seek specialist advice

At The Vein Institute, we specialise in treating varicose leg veins. If you think you may have varicose veins in the legs or are starting to experience symptoms like itching, swelling, or aches, give our Canberra vein clinic a call at 13 VEINS (that’s 13 83467) or book your consultation online.