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How can I treat my varicose veins if I have tattoos?

I am 28 years old and have a number of tattoos on my body, including some up and down my legs. The problem is, I've noticed that I'm getting varicose veins on my legs, and they're big enough to show through some of the tattoos. I have two questions. How can I get the varicose veins removed without damaging my tattoos? And, if I want to get more tattoos on skin where varicose veins haven't appeared yet, can I get the veins below the skin removed now, so I don't have to worry about them later?

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Doctors Answers (3)

The saphenous vein trunks of your varicose veins may be treated using a fiber optic laser that is inserted under ultrasound guidance into a vein below the skin. Since the laser energy is at a continuous lower power which pass through the fiber and are delivered to the tip of the fiber which is inside of the vein and below the skin, the tattoo should be safe in most situations. For areas where the varicose vein is very close to the surface, a micro-phlebectomy can be done to remove the varicose vein in segments through several very slender 1 mm slits that heal quickly and are typically not seen at several weeks after the procedure. Foam sclerotherapy may also be an option in smaller varicose veins. Consult your vein specialist to have an ultrasound exam of your veins and discuss treatment options and your concerns for protecting your tattoos.

There is not a problem removing varicose veins in the area of tattoos. We have treated many such patients. The deeper cause of varicose veins is usually reflux which is treated with a laser inside the veins well below the surface. Bulging varicose veins can be removed through tiny punctures and can mostly be removed above and below a tattoo and injected if there is an area below a large tattoo. Typically the little punctures we remove veins through do not scar and distort the tattoo. You are then free to apply more body art. We also offer tattoo removal, so are sensitive to the unique needs of our patients.

We can do sclerotherapy with or without tattoos. These are injections to close the veins using a very tiny needle and should not interfere with present or future tattoos.

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