Venous disease is a group of conditions that interfere with proper blood flow. If you have venous disease, your healthcare provider may recommend treatment to help you avoid potentially serious complications. Treatments range from medications to minimally invasive procedures and surgery.
Your veins are blood vessels that are one-way routes for blood to flow through your body, toward your heart. Healthy veins have valves, or flaps, that open and close to keep blood flowing in the correct direction. But if you have a form of venous disease called venous insufficiency, these valves usually aren’t working properly. When this happens, blood may pool in certain veins or flow backward. Healthcare providers may also refer to venous disease as peripheral venous disease (PVD).
Venous disease treatments restore proper blood flow and lower your risk of complications. These treatments include medications, catheter-based procedures and surgery. Your provider creates your treatment plan based on the type of venous disease you have.
Common types of venous disease include:
Depending on the treatment you need, your provider may be a:
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
Healthcare providers may use nonsurgical treatments alone or in combination with other procedures or surgery. These include:
With catheter-based treatments, your provider uses a catheter (thin tube) to provide treatment. Catheter-based treatments use small incisions, so you usually have a short recovery time and a low risk of complications. These procedures include:
You may need surgery for venous disease if:
Surgical treatment options include:
In some cases, it’s possible to cure or reverse venous disease. For example, procedures to close off a varicose vein and reroute blood flow can cure varicose veins. However, these procedures don’t prevent new varicose veins from forming.
Not all cases of venous disease are curable. Sometimes, treatment manages symptoms or prevents complications, like a pulmonary embolism. For example, a vena cava filter can stop a clot from moving to your lungs or heart, but it doesn’t get rid of the blood clot itself. Blood thinners can keep clots from getting worse and prevent new clots from forming. However, blood thinners don’t remove the existing blood clot.
Treatments may reduce your risk of life-threatening complications of venous diseases, such as a pulmonary embolism. These treatments can also bring relief from symptoms like:
Each type of treatment has its own risks and benefits. Blood-thinning medications can have side effects like bleeding. Procedures and surgeries carry a small risk of complications like infection. But in most cases, the benefits of venous disease treatments outweigh the risks. Your provider will discuss whether a treatment is right for you, based on your unique health needs.
Contact your healthcare provider if you’re experiencing side effects or problems after starting blood thinners or having a procedure. In many cases, they can modify your medication or help you manage post-procedure symptoms, like pain.
After a catheter-based procedure, you can usually return to normal activities within a few days. Your recovery time will vary based on the type of procedure you had, your age and your overall health. If you had surgery, such as an SEPS procedure, full recovery may take two weeks or longer.
See your provider if you recently had a procedure or surgery for venous disease and you experience:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Venous disease is a group of conditions that interfere with proper blood flow. With the variety of treatments available today, many people can live full, active lives with venous disease. Your provider can discuss which options are best for you and what to expect.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/15/2022.
Learn more about our editorial process.