Several doctors are qualified to treat varicose veins, including phlebologists, vascular surgeons, dermatologists, and dermatologic surgeons. When choosing a medical professional, there are several factors you’ll want to consider.
Varicose veins are a common condition you may want to treat for cosmetic reasons or to relieve any pain or discomfort they cause.
Sclerotherapy is the most common treatment approach for varicose veins, followed by laser treatment. But you can also manage them with at-home methods, like regularly walking or wearing compression stockings.
If you’re considering professional treatment to remove varicose veins, several types of doctors can help.
The types of medical professionals who treat varicose veins include:
Vascular surgeons treat conditions that impact the blood vessels, including varicose veins.
They can perform all surgical and minimally invasive procedures designed to remove varicose veins. They can also do consultations to help you evaluate whether there are any nonsurgical options you may want to consider trying first.
Phlebologists specialize in examining, preventing, treating, and rehabilitating venous diseases. With the appropriate training, any surgeon, dermatologist, or general practitioner can become a phlebologist.
A phlebologist might be a general practitioner who is board certified in phlebology, for example.
Vascular or interventional radiologists
Interventional radiologists are doctors with an additional 6 to 7 years of specialized training in minimally invasive procedures. They might use X-rays, ultrasounds, or MRIs to diagnose conditions.
They can perform procedures like endovenous laser treatment or radiofrequency ablation to treat varicose veins.
Dermatologists or dermatologic surgeons
Even though dermatologists typically treat skin conditions, they may also treat certain types of varicose veins.
They are qualified to employ treatments like sclerotherapy or laser treatment, for instance.
General practitioners or family doctors
Your primary care doctor may be able to diagnose and treat some cases of varicose veins. They can also offer recommendations on lifestyle changes that can help relieve symptoms, such as exercising more or wearing compression stockings.
They can also assess your veins and refer you to the appropriate specialist for treatment.
There are many options for treating varicose veins, including:
- Sclerotherapy: This minimally invasive procedure involves injecting a specialized solution containing saline directly into the affected vein. The liquid causes the vein to seal up and eventually disintegrate. It’s currently the most popular method to treat varicose veins.
- Laser treatment: This is the second-most common method used to treat varicose veins. A clinician uses laser energy to penetrate the vein from outside the skin, which gradually dissolves it.
- Radiofrequency ablation: This is another minimally invasive procedure. It involves using radiofrequency energy to break down the targeted vein.
- Endovenous laser therapy: This is a more invasive procedure that uses laser energy to close off the affected vein. But instead of targeting the veins from outside the skin, the clinician will make a small incision that allows penetration directly into the vein. This is ideal for larger veins that may be difficult to remove with other methods.
Most of these methods require several sessions to attain desired results. The exact number of sessions you’ll need depends on size and severity your varicose veins.
There are also at-home methods to manage them. These methods can reduce any pain and discomfort they may cause, prevent existing ones from getting worse, and stop new ones from developing:
- Compression stockings: These socks apply pressure to the legs, boosting blood flow and helping reduce any swelling and discomfort.
- Getting regular exercise: Regular exercise can improve blood flow and reduce pressure on the veins. Low impact exercises, like walking, swimming, cycling, or yoga, are especially recommended since they put less pressure on the veins than high impact exercises like running.
- Maintaining a moderate weight: Excess weight can put extra pressure on the body, which can worsen existing varicose veins and increase your risk of developing new ones.
- Elevating your legs: Keeping your legs lifted when sitting or lying down can improve blood flow, reducing any discomfort associated with varicose veins and preventing them from worsening.
To find an ideal practitioner to treat your varicose veins, you may want to:
- Get a referral: When in doubt, start with your primary care doctor. They can either help you treat your veins or refer you to the right expert who can.
- Check credentials: Look for a professional with board certification in phlebology, vascular surgery, or interventional radiology. Most of the time, these credentials are readily available, but you can always ask to see them.
- Review their experience: Check out examples of the doctor’s previous work treating people with similar concerns. They may list these on their website, but don’t hesitate to ask them for examples if they don’t.
- Schedule a consultation: Some specialists offer free consultations. These meetings can help you get an idea of what treatment would entail. You can also get a feel for whether the doctor feels like the right fit for your preferences and needs.
There are several kinds of doctors that can treat varicose veins, including phlebologists, interventional radiologists, dermatologists, dermatologic surgeons, and primary care doctors.
The expert that’s right for your needs depends on your preferences as well as the severity of your condition. Taking time to do your research can help you connect with a doctor who has the experience and qualifications to treat them effectively.