Sometimes you have a choice of procedures to choose from when treating an illness, and other times only one will do. Although you should always consult with a doctor before deciding how to eliminate your varicose veins, here are a couple of guidelines you can follow when selecting a vein treatment.
Treating Spider Veins
For spider veins — the web of thin red veins that often appear on your face, thighs or around your ankles — sclerotherapy is the only approach. Sclerotherapy involves the use of a chemical of foam or liquid called a “sclerant” that is injected into the veins. The sclerant causes the veins to collapse, after which they disappear as they are absorbed by your body. As you will see, other treatments are not suitable for the small diameter of spider veins.
Treating Varicose Veins
Endovenous laser therapy, or ELT, uses a laser or heat source inserted into the vein via a filament. The laser causes blood clots to form and then to block flow in the vein. The blocked vein will disappear as it is absorbed into your body.
Another treatment, called Radiofrequency Ablation, RF or RA, also employs a catheter but uses radio waves to cause the vein to thicken and collapse, Again, it will be absorbed by your body.
Neither of these treatments is effective for spider veins because the catheters inserted into veins are too large. At the same time, sclerotherapy has been shown to be less effective when treating larger veins, which respond well to both ELT and RA.
Laser treatment sometimes causes short-term bruising, which may be accompanied by minor pain. But after a month or so, patients in many studies reported feeling great with either treatment, and the results with both treatments are equally effective. Treatment with sclerotheraphy, endovenous laser therapy or radiofrequency ablation is done in a doctor’s office, and you will be able to return to work and other activities the next day.
Next steps for your vein treatment
If you are ready to consider treatment for your varicose veins, discuss the vein treatment options with your doctor to decide which is best for you.