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Is it fatal if a varicose vein is cut open?

I have varicose veins and I'm not sure if it's a good thing, but I have been doing some hiking recently to get some fresh air. Since varicose veins are superficial, would they be easy to get cut or scraped? What happens if a vein gets cut?

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Doctors Answers (8)

It is possible that they could burst and start bleeding. If that happens, apply pressure with gauze for at least five minutes and then wrap the area with gauze. It is better to have them treated before you have this problem happen. You will need an ultrasound to evaluate the extent of your vein disease. Then we will create a treatment plan for your condition.

A cut varicose vein would bleed profusely but would not be fatal. Simple direct pressure would stop the bleeding. The worst complication is death due to blood clots from untreated varicose veins.

Large bulging varicose veins on the legs can accidentally be cut shaving and very large veins can even spontaneously rupture and bleed. This would not be expected to produce a dangerous amount of blood loss and venous bleeding is easily stopped by applying light pressure above or over the site of bleeding similar to the handling of a nose bleed. Normal veins are typically very low pressure and do not bleed quickly, with the length of time until the bleeding stops dependent on normal clotting times and use of blood thinners. When a large congested varicose vein bleeds due to a cut or for any reason, the initial flow may be quite brisk in the first minute but that quickly lowers the pressure in the varicose vein and bleeding will then slow greatly and will stop with time, (usually about 10 minutes). Varicose veins can be physically removed by a phlebectomy without significant bleeding and can also be closed by other methods. There are many good reasons to treat varicose veins, but you are not at any increased risk for significant blood loss from these veins from normal activities.

Varicose veins bleed profusely, but applying pressure, depending on size, can control bleeding in most cases. Others may need medical attention if cut is too large. If you have symptomatic varicose veins, most insurance will cover treatment.

You can bleed very badly from a vein that is cut especially if you have venous insufficiency in other veins. I would get your veins checked. I would recommend that you moisturize the legs as moist supple skin breaks up less than dry scaly skin. If your legs swell or ache, you should wear compression hose as well.

It is rarely fatal however, significant bleeding is possible, so standard first aid procedures should be used immediately.

Although it is technically possible to have enough bleeding from varicose vein to be lethal, in practice it is rarely occurs because the bleeding can be controlled easily with compression and elevation.

If you are out in the wilderness and happen to cut, puncture or scratch a varicose vein they can bleed quite profusely. However, unlike arteries, these can easily be controlled. Firstly you would need to elevate the limb above the heart. As it is a low pressure system, this in itself will certainly slow the flow. Some direct pressure over the area while doing this is necessary. One of the simplest and handy things to do is to have a clean penny and some surgical tape on you. If you apply the penny to the area and firmly tape it on while elevated this is often enough to stop the bleeding. Stay with the leg elevated for a while and gradually lower, sit for a while and see if it is stopped. It sounds like it would be better for you to get these treated.

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