If we remove our varicose veins because they are useless, would we get any drawbacks by removing them?

For example, we might need to remove rest of them next time. Wouldn't it be a problem for us if we have very small number of veins in our leg, knee, or groin?

2 Answers 2


Removing veins impairs blood flow to that area, but since the varicose veins aren't really getting blood efficiently to their locality anyway, I wouldn't call the lack of perfusion from removing them a drawback, per se.

Some complications can arise following surgery to remove varicose veins. Some of them are pretty innocuous, like skin discoloration, but some can be more serious, such as deep vein thromboses or even nerve damage. Even then, the incidence of post-op complications is pretty low.

This paper describes a long-term reptrospective study of a cohort of patients who had a certain surgery to remove varicose veins and gives a nice, brief description of the complications that they experienced (there weren't many).

This paper is much more comprehensive, if you're interested.

I would say that the bottom line is that there aren't really drawbacks to removing varicose veins, but that there could be post-op difficulties to watch out for.

  • 1
    @Rodrigo Which is my point...
    – L.B.
    Apr 18, 2017 at 15:05
  • 1
    @Rodrigo As with all other surgeries there is inherent risk. Even in wisdom tooth removal you can die. You can bleed profusely and die, you can have a reaction to the medications and die... The list goes on.
    – L.B.
    Apr 18, 2017 at 17:26
  • 1
    @Rodrigo I've never seen anyone die from a tooth removal. To quote yourself: Look again. Oh, and I almost forgot: please do your homework before commenting.
    – Narusan
    Apr 18, 2017 at 21:19
  • 1
    This is exactly the point @L.B., the others and me are trying to make: Death is a potential downside of anything. Unless the probability is either high or known, it doesn't qualify as an answer though.
    – Narusan
    Apr 18, 2017 at 21:20
  • 1
    @Rodrigo When your wisdom teeth grow in in the wrong direction there is no right time!
    – L.B.
    Apr 19, 2017 at 2:29

There are some small drawbacks associated with surgery, that all doctors are going to tell you. And there are some big drawbacks (like death or amputation risk), that not all doctors are going to tell you.

For instance, one of the greatest Brazilian female singers, Clara Nunes died some 30 years ago in one such operation, at the peak of her energy. Some people say this is old news, so here are more recent ones:

Woman dies after varicose veins surgery.

Woman has her leg amputated after varicose veins surgery.

Another woman dies because hospital failed to carry basic test.

Yet another woman died due to a blood clot in the lung following vein surgery.

Life-threatening infection almost costed woman her legs.

I should mention that probably the biggest risk lies with the anesthesia. Several other news relate people dying because of the anesthesia in other common surgeries, some of them purely aesthetic (like liposuction). This article is shocking:

(...) after decades of decline, the worldwide death rate during full anesthesia is back on the rise, to about seven patients in every million. And the number of deaths within a year after a general anesthesia is frighteningly high: one in 20. In the over-65 age group, it’s one in 10.

Other studies bring numbers way higher than seven in a million:

Brazilian and worldwide studies demonstrated a similar decline in anesthesia-related mortality rates, which amounted to fewer than 1 death per 10,000 anesthetics in the past two decades. Perioperative mortality rates also decreased during this period, with fewer than 20 deaths per 10,000 anesthetics in developed countries.

That's 1 death in 500 anesthetics. I'd prefer to keep my varicose veins, at least until I know the numbers about the risk they represent.

Also, when you look for information in doctor's and medical clinics websites, they don't explicitly mention all the risks involved. Here and here are two Brazilian examples. In English, we have other examples. The respected Johns Hopkins tells nothing about the biggest risks. Their "About" page clearly states their measure of success:

Johns Hopkins Medicine (...) is an $8 billion integrated global health enterprise and one of the leading health care systems in the United States.

This website puts it clearly:

Surprisingly perhaps most vein clinic websites fail to highlight potential risks giving the impression that all treatments are perfectly safe with nothing at all to worry about.

That's understandable: they want the patient's money, not to scare them away.

On the other hand, sometimes having varicose veins may also be risky, like this report suggests.

Unfortunately, I have found no studies comparing which risk (to keep or to remove varicose veins) is higher.

Finally, someone asked me about a source for my claim that medical error is now the third cause for death in the USA. Here it is:

Is US Health Really the Best in the World?

In case you don't want to pay US$30 just to have 24-hour access -- yes, they call it buying this sort of vital information -- you may try sci-hub instead. The relevant information is on (non-free) second page:

These total to 225 000 deaths per year from iatrogenic causes. (...) [these estimates] are lower than those in the IOM report. (...) In any case, 225 000 deaths per year constitutes the third leading cause of death in the United States, after deaths from heart disease and cancer.

Here you have some more information.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.