Varicose veins treatment: why surgery is no longer recommended by doctors globally

In the last two years, the guidelines for management of varicose veins put out by recognised venous groups around the world have stated that surgery should no longer be considered as the first option in the treatment of varicose veins. Doctors and researchers have agreed that there are several non-invasive methods of varicose vein treatment which have greater treatment success rates, fewer side effects and complications and less patient recovery time.

Medical groups on varicose veins treatment

From the 2012 joint guidelines published in the USA by two surgical groups (the American Venous Forum and the Society for Vascular Surgery) it is stated that:

“The need for such guidelines has been evident since imaging techniques and minimally invasive technologies have progressed by leaps and bounds and radio frequency ablation, laser and sclerotherapy have largely replaced classical open surgery of saphenous stripping……The management of varicose veins has rapidly progressed in the last two decades and open surgical treatment using the classical high ligation and saphenous stripping is rarely performed today”.

From the European guidelines for Sclerotherapy published in 2013 it is stated that:

“Sclerotherapy is recommended for all types of veins”.

From the UK guidelines published in July 2013 it is stated that:

“For people with confirmed varicose veins and truncal reflux that patients should be offered endothermal ablation and if endothermal ablation is unsuitable, offer Ultrasound Guided foam Sclerotherapy”.

Varicose Veins Treatment Success Rates

There are numerous reports of success rates for the various treatment options. The long-term success rates for the various treatment options are approximately:

  • EVLA – 95%
  • UGFS – 80%
  • Surgery – 75%
Procedure General Anaesthetic Local Anaesthetic Hospital/Inpatient Rooms/Outpatient Time off work Cost
UGFS 0-1 day +
EVLA 0-1 day +++
Surgery 14+ days +++++++

Note: Individual doctors may have better or poorer success rates than those quoted above.

Key benefits of non-surgical treatment

  • Unlike surgery, UGFS is simple and readily repeated
  • Better results with no downtime
  • Non-invasive
  • More cost-effective than surgery
  • Reduced risk of complications and their severity


Treatment Option

Learn more about treatment for varicose veins with laser ablation
For Varicose Veins we would recommend an initial consultant to review and confirm your leg vein condition.  Varicose Veins which are large in size can be treated with Endovenous Laser Ablation. 

Frequently asked questions about varicose vein treatment


Make an appointment
Talk to our receptionists about making an initial consultation to let us diagnose your particular vein condition.
PHONE 07 5538 1133 | Contact Details

Finance for Treatment
Options available through MAC Credit More details


Professional Memberships
Dr Varcoe is an Accredited EVLA PractitionerAustralian and New Zealand Society of Phlebology
Learn about Dr Varoce's memberships.