There are a number of different treatment options available for varicose and spider veins. While we feel our treatment combination of sclerotherapy and endovenous laser treatment (ELT) is the safer and more effective option, we feel it’s best to address the other options that are available and as well as their advantages and disadvantages.
Veinwave is a medical device that treats spider and fine thread veins on the legs and face. This treatment eliminates fine thread veins using a controlled dose of high frequency energy. Developed in Europe, Veinwave™ is an important device, offering patients an alternative to laser or injection therapies. Vein Clinics of America is offering this treatment option in a limited number of offices. Call 1-866-923-8346 to learn if it is in a treatment center near you.
Vein Surgery (stripping)
The documented failure rate for surgery is 25 percent to 43 percent in one to five years. This procedure has a longer and more painful recovery time than minimally invasive treatment options. It may also result in scarring. Removing a varicose vein surgically is not the same as removing an appendix - a one-time-only procedure - because varicose veins are a chronic problem plagued with new growth in many places in the leg. Repeated surgery is not an acceptable solution for a recurrent problem.
Compression stockings are designed to decrease tension on the veins in the legs. While they generally provide symptomatic relief, they do not correct the underlying problem or prevent vein disease from getting worse. Vein disease sufferers often have difficulty regularly wearing the stockings since they can be hot and uncomfortable.
Creams and herbal supplements
Topical treatment on its own cannot get rid of varicose veins; it simply attempts to reduce their appearance. If these creams could accomplish the same results as a medical procedure, they would be available by prescription instead of over-the-counter. Varicose and spider veins are progressive and will get worse over time if left untreated. Save your money on the creams and look into getting proper treatment before they become more noticeable.
Surface Laser or Intense Pulse Light (IPL)
Surface lasers treat the lighter, more delicate spider veins that appear close to the skin’s surface, but this procedure can be quite painful and runs the risk of damaging or burning the skin. Research has shown that this procedure is not as effective as ELT or sclerotherapy though.1
Ambulatory Phlebectomy: Removing veins through small incisions
During this procedure veins are removed through several tiny needle punctures in the skin. This procedure can only be used for veins that are close to the skin’s surface and requires local anesthesia. Swelling, hematomas or nerve damage can occur if proper technique is not observed.2
1 Goldman MP, Sadick NS, Weiss RA. Treatment of leg telangiectasias with lasers and high-intensity pulsed light. In: Fronek HL, ed. The Fundamentals of Phlebology: Venous Disease for Clinicians. 2nd ed. London, England: Royal Society of Medicine Press Ltd; 2008:47-52.
2 Morrison N, Olivencia JA. Ambulatory phlebectomy. In: Fronek HL, ed. The Fundamentals of Phlebology: Venous Disease for Clinicians. 2nd ed. London, England: Royal Society of Medicine Press Ltd; 2008:65-68.
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