Vein Ligation is a procedure that has been used for many years to eliminate larger varicose veins.*  This surgery is performed on an outpatient basis using regional or general anesthesia, and most patients are able to go home later in the day. Typically, individuals are able to return to work in a few days (depending on their occupation) and get back to recreational activities in a few weeks.

During the procedure, the surgeon makes several small incisions over the diseased vein and it is tied off (ligated). This option usually offers good long-term results, but can leave some scarring where the incisions were made.

Although vein ligation can be performed for cosmetic reasons, it is usually done for patients that have large, bleeding, problematic (aching, swelling) or damaged veins; or open sores resulting from varicose veins. In some cases, sclerotherapy is recommended as a follow-up to vein ligation to treat smaller varicose veins.

A qualified vascular surgeon can help determine the best procedure for each individual’s varicose veins. However, in general, the following people are not appropriate candidates for vein ligation:

  • Pregnant women (although pregnancy can aggravate varicose veins, they should not be treated during pregnancy)
  • Older adults with medical conditions that predispose them to risks associated with surgery
  • Individuals with poor circulation in the arteries of the legs
  • Those who have lymphedema, skin infections or blood clotting disorders.


* Disclaimer: The information contained in this site is for informational purposes only. It does not take the place of, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for individual medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from your physician.

  • Summary

    Type of anesthesia

    • Regional or General

    Length of procedure

    • Around 1 hour

    Before the procedure

    • Let your PVC physician know what medicines and herbs you are taking
    • Avoid aspirin, ibuprofen and other NSAIDs for at least 72 hours before procedure; acetaminophen (Tylenol) is usually safe to take
    • Don't put lotion or cream on your legs the day of the procedure
    • Plan to avoid vacation / travel for two weeks after treatment

    After the procedure

    • Wear compression stockings or an elastic bandage on your leg as directed by your physician
    • Return to work in a few days (depending on your occupation)
    • Contact PVC if you have any concerns

    Side effects

    Side effects are similar to those of any surgery, including risks associated with anesthesia.

    • Scarring
    • Bleeding
    • Infection
    • Nerve damage

    Insurance coverage

    • If done for cosmetic reasons, usually not covered
    • If done for medical reasons, may be covered