UK Study Shows Lasers Effective in Treating Varicose Veins
There are many effective ways to treat varicose veins today and most procedures involve little discomfort or downtime. While this is a huge improvement over traditional vein stripping that involved significant pain and an extended recovery period. While more choices is good news for patients, it can also make it difficult to know which procedure might work best for you. Now, British researchers have found that not all of those procedures may be created equal in terms of their effectiveness in eliminating varicose veins.
About the Study
British researchers looked at the results of nearly 800 varicose vein sufferers in the UK that underwent surgery (vein stripping), foam sclerotherapy or laser therapy to treat their varicose veins. They studied the patients for six months after their procedures to determine whether treatment was effective and if it actually improved the quality of life for these patients in the short term. Results of the study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in September 2014.
Researchers discovered that all three treatments were relatively effective in eliminating varicose veins, as well as many of the uncomfortable symptoms that frequently accompany them. Test subjects reported common side effects, such as pain, swelling and itchy skin were all relieved to a similar degree. In most cases, these symptoms improve immediately following treatment.
Differences in Treatments
However, treatments were not identical in terms of their efficacy. Patients that underwent surgery or laser therapy saw more consistent resolution of their varicose veins than patients that underwent foam sclerotherapy. That may mean that injectable treatments may be more likely to result in the need for follow-up procedures than other varicose vein procedures.
Patients also reported fewer complications or side effects from laser treatment. Common side effects reported with all three procedures included lumpiness, skin discoloration and numbness in the treatment area. Approximately 7 percent of individuals undergoing surgery experienced these side effects, while 6 percent of those getting foam sclerotherapy reported the same complications. Only 1 percent of patients undergoing laser therapy reported any type of side effect.
No “One Size Fits All”
While laser therapy may have been the clear choice in this study, it is not the right treatment for every patient. Researchers were quick to point out in their findings that patients that were good candidates for all three procedures may want to consider laser therapy as opposed to other treatment options. However, the choice of treatment is a personal one that must be made between a patient and vascular specialist to ensure the best possible results.
Dr. Ronald Lev brings many years of training and experience to his vascular surgery practice. He customizes treatments to the unique concerns of each individual patient to ensure the best results. To learn more about varicose vein treatments, contact Advanced Varicose Vein Treatments of Manhattan at 212-204-6501 to schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Lev today.