Varicose veins
Swollen, painful, superficial veins, usually in the legs, which have filled with blood. In a healthy person, valves in the veins prevent blood flowing backwards (retrograde), so the blood does not collect in one place. In varicose veins, the valves are either damaged or missing. As a result, the veins fill with blood.

A common surgical technique is known as ligation and stripping, which involves tying off, then removing the affected vein. Vein stripping is usually done when a large vein in the leg, called the Superficial Saphenous Vein, is thick and rope-like. A newer technique is to seal the main leaking vein on the thigh.
Ligation and stripping...
  1. Two small incisions are made, approximately 2” (5 cm) in diameter. The first cut is made near the groin, at the top of the varicose vein. The second cut is made further down the leg, near the knee or ankle. The top of the vein (near the groin) is tied up and sealed.
  2. A thin, flexible, plastic wire is passed through the bottom of the vein, and then carefully pulled out and removed through the lower cut in the leg.
  3. The wire is then tied to the vein, then pulled out through the lower cut, which pulls the vein out with it.
  4. The incisions will then be closed with sutures.

The blood flow in the legs will not be affected by the surgery. This is because the veins, situated deep within the legs, will take over the role of the damaged veins.