Beyond sclerotherapy and EVLA.
You may have heard of treatments other than sclerotherapy and EVLA as you’ve been researching. In certain situations, some can be practical options, but many are not–that’s why it’s important to consult with a vascular specialist who can help you understand the whole picture. Sclerotherapy and endovenous laser treatment are not the only options out there, but they are known to be among the safest, least painful, and most effective. However, we still feel it’s best to address the advantages and disadvantages of other treatment options in order to give you the full story.
Recommended alternative vein treatments:
What they are: Compression stockings are prescription garments that fit tighter around the foot and gradually loosen compression as they move up the leg. They are designed to increase your blood flow, and to help push your veins blood back upward toward your heart. Compression stockings for varicose veins may be required by your insurance company as a first course of action before authorizing coverage for medical treatment, so schedule a consultation at your nearest vein clinic to find out.
Pros: They can provide symptomatic relief of pain and swelling and can encourage healthier, more efficient blood flow. When used with other treatments they may also increase the effectiveness of those treatments, so they’re often helpful before or after sclerotherapy and EVLA treatments.
Cons: Compression stockings do not treat the underlying problem. Because vein disease is progressive, symptoms will typically worsen over time if the disease is not properly treated. Also, some people find compression stockings to be uncomfortable and hot.
What it is: A medical device that uses a process called thermocoagulation to destroy fine-thread spider veins.
Why VCA sometimes offers it: It offers you an alternative to laser or injection therapies. We offer it only at a limited number of our clinics, so call 844.890.8346 to ask whether Veinwave is available at your local Vein Clinics of America location.
Alternative treatments that we don’t recommend:
What it is: Varicose veins are surgically removed.
Why VCA does not recommend: The procedure is less effective and more invasive than EVLA. Vein disease is a chronic problem with new varicose veins developing over time, and repeated surgery for a potentially recurring problem is not an advisable solution.
Also, vein stripping entails a longer and more painful recovery time than minimally invasive procedures and it may result in scarring.
What it is: Removing veins through small incisions or needle punctures.
Why VCA does not recommend it: It can only be used for veins that are close to the skin’s surface and requires local anesthesia. If performed improperly, it can cause swelling, hematomas (collection of blood outside of a blood vessel) or nerve damage.1
1 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.
Surface Laser or Intense Pulse Light (IPL)
What it is: Lasers hit the lighter, more delicate spider veins close to the skin’s surface.
Why VCA does not recommend it: IPL isn’t as effective as sclerotherapy and can be quite painful.2 There’s also the possibility that it may damage or burn the skin. It is not considered the “gold standard” in treatment.
2 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.
Creams and Ointments
What they are: Spider vein removal creams and creams to reduce varicose veins are topical products applied directly to the skin that are available over the counter.
Why VCA does not recommend it: They do not get rid of varicose or spider veins, or treat their root cause.