A Huge Secret About Varicose Vein Removal in Pittsburgh

A Huge Secret About Varicose Vein Removal in Pittsburgh

Yinz Got Veins?

Varicose Vein Treatment Options

For the treatment of varicose veins, most people in Pittsburgh are aware that laser or radiofrequency has changed everything.

Stripping of varicose veins is rarely done anymore. Sometimes in specific cases, there is a cosmetic advantage if the saphenous vein is directly under the skin.

The shock for most people is that laser or radiofrequency is not enough. Usually you will need more to complete the entire treatment of your varicose veins.

You may need ambulatory phlebectomy or just phlebectomy. Phlebectomy is the removal of varicose veins through needle holes or mini incisions.

Another alternative to phlebectomy is sclerotherapy. That is the injection of medicine into the varicose veins. This will make them shrink up. Your body will absorb them.

Laser or Radiofrequency is Not Enough

The laser can only treat part of your varicose vein problem.

Laser can only remove the saphenous vein.

It is the root of the problem.

The saphenous vein branches off into the twisted, ropey varicose veins. These are the veins that you see just under your skin. Varicose veins are like the branches that come off the trunk of the tree.

The laser cannot treat these twisted varicose veins because the laser fiber is stiff. The fiber can’t get past all of the twists and turns.

The laser fiber cannot make it past all of the bends and kinks in the actual varicose veins.

That’s when phlebectomy or injections get involved in your treatment plan.

For really big and ropey veins, phlebectomy is usually preferable.

With injection of medicine into large varicose veins, the huge volume inside these varicosities would dilute out the medicine.

That would make it difficult or impossible to close the entire length of huge veins. Injections are much more useful with the smaller varicose veins.

That is true especially when there are multiple branches. There are advantages and disadvantages for each method.

Make sure that the vein specialist who you chooses is experienced in both methods. That will give you the best chance of a great result.


Phlebectomy or removal of varicose veins is often very tedious and time consuming. That is true for the patient and the doctor.

Sclerotherapy often results in brown staining of the skin that is unsightly for many months.

An experienced vascular surgeon who is well versed in all of these techniques can design a specific treatment plan.

Sometimes a combination of these sclerotherapy and phlebectomy is necessary.

Remember the laser or radiofrequency alone almost never works long term to get rid of your varicose veins.

That’s the huge secret or shock that most people don’t know when they see TV advertising or marketing promising quick and painless varicose vein treatment.

For more information, call us today and learn more at 724-969-0600.

About The Author

Dr. John Happel

Dr. John Happel has been in practice as a surgeon since 1986 in the Pittsburgh region. He specializes in vascular surgery and has subspecialized in the treatment of varicose and spider veins since 1999. Dr. Happel is board certified in vascular surgery and recertified in vascular surgery in 2012. He was chosen in 1985 to fulfill the position for the vascular surgical fellowship at the world renowned Mayo Clinic.