Varicose Vein Surgery

Using this guide What's covered

Here you’ll find answers to many of your questions about varicose vein surgery. Learn how it’s done, what it may cost, what your recovery may be like, and more.

To see how the surgery works, view our animation below.

For personal insights, see our patient experience videos in which HCF members talk frankly about their preparation, surgery and recovery.

Cost indicator

Discover the typical out-of-pocket costs HCF members can expect to pay for varicose vein surgery and learn how your choice of surgeon and hospital affect that cost.


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This short animation explains how and why the varicose vein is removed.

The basics

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged superficial (close to the surface) veins, usually in your legs, that are no longer doing a good job of getting blood back up your legs to your heart. Instead, the blood pools causing symptoms like heaviness, aching, swelling and itching.

Spider veins are sometimes associated with varicose veins. Spider veins are clusters of tiny blood vessels just under your skin. They’re mainly a cosmetic problem. However, if the pressure in the underlying veins is high it's possible they may bleed. Treatments for spider veins under 2.5 mm in diameter aren’t usually covered by Medicare or private health insurance.

What procedures can treat varicose veins?

Varicose vein treatments include several procedures where your doctor simply closes off the vein. This can be done by injecting a substance that seals the vein. Other procedures involve laser, radiofrequency ablation or glue. With varicose vein stripping surgery your doctor removes the main vein through a small incision in your groin, with another incision lower in your leg and small incisions in between. All the procedures work by diverting blood through other veins instead of the varicose veins on the surface.

Why's it done?

Varicose veins are unsightly as well as painful. Left untreated, they can cause eczema, bleeding and painful leg ulcers. There is also a risk of superficial thrombosis (blood clotting) in the vein.

The details


Alternatives to a varicose vein procedure

There may be other options that’ll work for you.

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Types of varicose vein procedures

There are different ways to treat varicose veins.

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Results vs risks of varicose vein surgery

The benefits and potential complications.

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Choosing a specialist

How to find a varicose vein surgeon.

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Questions for your surgeon

What to ask before going ahead with surgery.

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Preparing for your procedure

What you need to do before your surgery.

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Your anaesthetic options

The anaesthetic for your surgery and pain relief afterwards.

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Going to hospital

What to expect on the day of the surgery.

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Your procedure

What happens in the operating theatre?

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After your procedure

Your hospital stay.

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Getting back to your regular routine.

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People who’ve had varicose vein surgery talk about their preparation, hospital stay and recovery.


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Important information

Information is provided by HCF in good faith for the convenience of members. It is not an endorsement or recommendation of any form of treatment nor is it a substitute for medical advice, and you should rely on the advice of your treating doctors in relation to all matters concerning your health. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however HCF takes no responsibility for any injury, loss, damage or other consequences of the use of this information.