Things to Know About Varicose Vein Ligation and Recovery

Many people with varicose veins respond well to minimally invasive therapy, but others require surgery to resolve the problem.


  1. Many people with varicose veins respond well to minimally invasive therapy, but others require surgery to resolve the problem. Ligation is one type of vein treatment that can eliminate these painful and poorly functioning blood vessels. The operation involves making a cut along the leg and tying off the vein to prevent blood from flowing through it anymore. The vein gradually deteriorates, and its components are absorbed back into the body. After ligation, the body simply sends blood through other vessels and does not have negative reactions to the loss of a vein.

    Varicose veins develop when the valves to those vessels stop functioning properly. They no longer close effectively, which allows blood to pool up in the veins. That causes the vessels to enlarge and become knobby and twisted. This vascular disorder not only is uncomfortable, it poses real health risks. Blood clots can develop when blood pools in veins, and the skin around those veins can develop chronic ulcers with a risk of infection.

    Varicose vein ligation usually is done as outpatient surgery unless the patient has a medical condition that would make staying overnight in a hospital advisable. Otherwise, the patient may be able to have the ligation procedure performed at a vein clinic, especially if general anesthesia is not necessary. Often ligation can be performed with local anesthesia alone. If the surgeon has determined that the varicose veins need to be removed altogether because ligation on its own would not be effective, there is a greater likelihood that the patient must have an overnight hospital stay. Surgeons sometimes make the decision to remove the veins, which is known as stripping, if they determine that the patient is at substantial risk for developing varicose veins again.

    Patients are encouraged to become ambulatory almost immediately after the operation. They need to start walking so that their blood vessels can heal more effectively and their body can more actively direct blood away from the problem veins. The clinic will want the patient to show a certain level of ambulatory ability and also to use the bathroom before leaving for home. After the operation, the individuals should stay active, which will help prevent varicose veins from occurring again. They can do anything that exercises their legs, such as taking walks or walking on a treadmill, riding a bicycle or swimming. These exercises should all be much easier now that the leg discomfort is gone.