Treatment for varicose veins has come a long way in recent years. In the days of yore, the only real option was to surgically remove the affected vein. Now, however, there are a number of non-surgical options for getting rid of pesky varicose veins.
Currently, two of the most popular alternatives are endovenous laser ablation and foam sclerotherapy. What are the differences between the two? And, perhaps most importantly, which treatment option is the best?
Before we dive into how effective non-invasive options are, it's important to understand how varicose veins form in the first place. Typically, blood only flows in one direction through your veins. Varicose veins form when valves inside of them fail and blood begins to flow the other way. This backwards-flowing blood then pools, causing the veins to become twisted and rise up beneath the surface of the skin.
Once varicose veins form, there is no way to reverse the problem; they must be eliminated, and that is where the treatment options come in. Traditional surgery involves physically removing the affected vein. The non-invasive options, however, get rid of the vein in another way.
In an endovenous laser ablation procedure, otherwise known as endovenous laser therapy, a thin wire is inserted into the vein. This wire emits low levels of laser light that seals off the vein from the inside. Once blood stops flowing through the vein, it is eventually reabsorbed into the body. Alternatively, sclerotherapy accomplishes the same result, but this process involves injecting a foam irritant into the veins, which causes them to collapse.
According to several studies, endovenous laser ablation is the superior option for most patients. With this technique, more than 95% of patients report that their varicose veins disappeared completely within a year of undergoing treatment.
Conversely, only about half of sclerotherapy patients reported similar results within the one-year time frame. Although, studies do indicate that sclerotherapy may be a better option for smaller spider veins that rest closer to the surface of the skin.
If you're currently suffering from varicose veins, then you should get treatment sooner than later. In addition to causing discomfort, these annoying veins can also lead to swelling, skin discoloration, weakened limbs and ulcers.
And while endovenous laser ablation may be the preferred option for most patients, you should defer to your doctor's recommendation. Remember that every patient is unique and what works for one person may not be as effective for another.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about vein treatment, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!
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