When To Treat Varicose Veins in the Elderly

Blog Post
By South Valley Vascular
July 4, 2023

Varicose veins are commonly seen as people age, caused by veins enlarging and twisting (especially in the legs). Often they’re asymptomatic or otherwise painless and require no further treatment. However, there are situations when varicose veins in older people should be treated. We’ll take a closer look at available treatment options and when they need to be pursued.

Varicose Vein Treatment

When it comes to varicose vein treatment, several kinds are available to people looking to reduce a varicose vein or limit its spread. Here are some of the more common treatment options.

Lifestyle Changes

The easiest ways to reduce the formation and spread of varicose veins are through lifestyle changes.

One way to reduce pressure on the leg veins is by losing weight. This will also prevent new varicose veins from forming. Exercise also improves muscle tone, which also improves blood flow.

Additionally, don’t stand or sit for long periods. Take regular breaks to get up and walk around. Avoid wearing high heels for long periods if at all possible. Likewise, tight clothing around the waist, upper thighs, and legs can restrict blood flow and lead to varicose veins.

Lastly, avoid crossing your legs when sitting, and try to elevate your legs above your heart to help the blood flow. Incorporating small steps like these can prevent varicose vein formation or slow their spread if they already exist.

Compression Therapy

Varicose veins happen most commonly in the legs. The veins in the calf muscle can be the ones that frequently struggle first and most. Compression stockings can aid the calf muscles by improving valve function, reducing the backward flow of blood and swelling. 

This therapy is designed to squeeze bulging varicose veins to close valves, restoring normal blood flow. This is the easiest way to relieve pain and protect against growing or recurring varicose veins.


Sclerotherapy is one of several minimally invasive procedures available for varicose vein treatment. These outpatient procedures can usually be done without hospital stays and limited recovery times.

Sclerotherapy is performed by injecting a solution into the vein. This causes the vein to collapse and disappear. Done under local anesthetic, it’s completely safe and effective. Varicose veins should fade a few weeks after treatment as collateral circulation takes over.

Saphenous Vein Ablation (RFA)

Also called endovenous ablation, this image-guided procedure uses radiofrequency energy to seal off varicose veins. The vein walls are targeted with radiofrequency energy to heat them and cause them to collapse. This collapses the vein walls, sealing them shut. This procedure is less invasive and prone to fewer complications than other, more invasive surgical procedures.

Surgical Treatments

These outpatient procedures can usually be done in more extreme or severe cases.

Saphenous vein ligation and stripping are performed by removing the veins, tying them off, and using small incisions. Blood flow is then rerouted to deep veins. The procedure’s done under anesthesia, with a recovery time of about 1 to 4 weeks.

Phlebectomy or varicose vein excision is also known as an ambulatory phlebectomy because the patient can walk immediately afterward. This minimally invasive surgical procedure removes varicose veins using tiny needle punctures. The vein is removed without stitches and virtually no scarring. Not to mention, this procedure is done in-office and under local anesthetic. Afterward, compression stockings will be required for a short time. It’s a simple, effective treatment with a 90% long-term success rate. Best of all, most patients report little to no pain.

When the Elderly Should Get Varicose Veins Treatment

Varicose veins treatment is not necessary in all cases. In some cases, the pain may be manageable or non-existent. However, consider additional treatment options if you have venous insufficiency issues, problems with venal valves, clotting, leg ulceration, or blockages.

Similarly, pain that grows increasingly difficult to manage should be a sign to explore available varicose vein treatment options. Your doctor or medical provider will help you develop the right treatment plan for your particular condition.

Get Trusted Varicose Vein Treatment from South Valley Vascular

In many situations, varicose veins can be treated and mitigated with conservative measures. However, they may require further action if you’re dealing with excessive pain or have other risk factors. 

If you’re looking for medical professionals who can diagnose and treat your varicose veins, South Valley Vascular is here to help. Our board-certified vascular experts can help with the latest varicose vein treatment options. Call or schedule an appointment today.