It is well attested by both Pliny and Plutarch that the great Roman general and uncle to Julius Caesar had varicose veins operated upon (Pliny N.H. 11. 252., Plut. Mar. 6.3).
Cornelius Celsus in the first century gives a clear description as to how to do this operation, using either a red-hot cautery iron, or by cutting out the veins (Celsus. de Medicina. VII.31.1-3). Either way it would have been very painful but Celsus gives a clue in his text as how he may have made the procedures less painful than we might think.
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