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Is Local Anaesthetic Best for Varicose Vein Treatment?

Yes. The short answer is Local Anaesthetic is best for treating varicose veins when compared to other forms of anaesthetic. There are 5 main reasons including safety and recovery.

Even in 2022, some vein specialists still recommend that you have your varicose veins treated under a general anaesthetic. In my opinion, this is simply not necessary.

Although general anaesthetic is very safe nowadays, local anaesthetic is always safer

Naturally, you may be worried that local anaesthetic treatment of your varicose veins is going to be painful. You might be frightened of needles or you might be concerned that you might see something that will make you feel faint or scared.

Vein specialists who regularly perform varicose vein treatment under local anaesthetic understand these concerns. The specialists at The VeinCare centre will make sure that you are kept comfortable during your procedure and that you receive sufficient local anaesthetic and sufficient time for it to work!

Procedures under local anaesthetic are carried out in a clinic rather than a hospital on a walk-in, walk out basis in just a few hours.

We can reassure you that local anaesthetic is the preferred method of providing pain relief during your varicose vein treatment.

There are several good reasons for you and your vein specialist to prefer local anaesthetic.

Modern non-surgical varicose vein treatment does not require general anaesthetic

Less Risk of Cardiac and Respiratory Complications

Local anaesthetic puts virtually no strain on your heart or on your breathing.

Heart and breathing complications after varicose vein treatment under local anaesthetic are extremely rare indeed. For this reason, many patients who would not be suitable for treatment under general anaesthetic can safely have their veins treated under a local anaesthetic. 

Less Risk of DVT

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is much more common after varicose vein treatment under general anaesthetic than when performed under a local anaesthetic.

Under general anaesthetic, you would be rendered unconscious and of course, you would not be able to move. Blood only moves in the deep veins when your leg muscles contract. When your leg muscles contract, the veins are squeezed causing blood to flow back to your heart.

Under local anaesthetic, you can continue to move your  legs during the vein treatment, encouraging blood flow. Furthermore, you will get up and about more quickly after local anaesthesia, which encourages blood flow and discourages clots.

Regular movement is an effective method to reduce clot formation. Just think about those in-flight exercises you do on a plane.

When you are unconscious, the blood in the deep veins is “stagnant” and is more likely to clot. In contrast, Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) after vein treatment under local anaesthetic is very rare indeed, much less common than under general anaesthetic.

Less Risk of Nerve Injury

Even though modern vein treatments are non-invasive, very occasionally Endovenous Laser Treatment  and Phlebectomy can irritate the nerves nearby. If this were to happen under local anaesthetic, you would experience some discomfort which warns your specialist that nerves nearby are being irritated.

This is important because it gives your specialist warning to protect this nerve by surrounding it with more local anaesthetic fluid.

This warning signal would not be available if you were being treated under general anaesthetic. For these reasons, nerve injury is extremely rare with modern treatments under local anaesthetic.

Less Risk of Skin Injury

The precise placement of local anaesthetic solution around veins which are to be treated by Endovenous Laser Ablation ensures that the heat energy which closes the vein is not transferred to the skin.

Local anaesthetic solution around the nerves acts as a heat barrier between the laser inside the vein and the skin. Although skin injuries are possible with Endovenous Laser Ablation, the use of local anaesthetic virtually eliminates this risk altogether.

Faster Recovery

If you’ve ever had a general anaesthetic, you will probably know that you can feel quite groggy and unsteady on your feet for several hours afterwards.

Many people after a general anaesthetic also feel nauseous. These are not problems when you have your varicose vein treatment under local anaesthetic.

Modern minimally invasive endovascular treatment for varicose veins and superficial venous reflux can be performed under a local anaesthetic on a walk-in walk-out basis.

The recovery after local anaesthetic is much quicker than after a general anaesthetic and people can get back to normal activities sooner.

Local Anaesthetic Treatment is Safer with a faster recovery

Drawbacks of Local Anaesthetics

For successful varicose vein treatment under local anaesthetic, you need a team who are used to treating this condition under local anaesthetic.

You need a patient surgeon who will ensure that you are given sufficient amounts of local anaesthetic and insufficient time for it to work. You also need a team of nurses with you to provide reassurance and to monitor your comfort levels during the procedure. When these conditions are in place, we believe nearly everyone with varicose veins should be offered treatment under local anaesthetic.


Advantages of Varicose Vein Treatment under Local Anaesthetic

  1. Less risk of cardiac and respiratory complications
  2. Less risk of DVT
  3. Less risk of nerve injuries
  4. Less risk of skin injuries
  5. Faster recovery


  1. You need a team who are experts in Local Anaesthetic Vein Treatment.