Results vs Risks ofvein stripping surgery

Varicose vein high ligation and vein stripping is a very well-established procedure.


A 2013 study of about 200 people compared the results of high ligation and vein stripping with conservative treatment (which included elevating the legs regularly, getting enough exercise and advice on weight loss and wearing compression stockings).

One year later, 80% of the people who had vein-stripping surgery had no pain, or less pain, than before the procedure, compared to 26% of the people who had conservative treatment.

Improvements in symptoms like itching, swelling and heaviness in the legs were also more common in people who had the surgery. Most people who had surgery were happy with the way their legs looked afterwards.


As with any medical procedure there are some potential risks. The chance of complications depends on the procedure you have and your general health.

The most common complications after varicose vein stripping are:

  • infection at the incision sites
  • heavy bleeding
  • blood clots
  • bruising or scarring
  • nerve injury
  • changes in skin pigmentation
  • hardening of the skin and underlying fat
  • infected ulcers
  • recurrence of varicose veins.

Choosing a specialist

How to find a varicose vein surgeon


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.