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Why are lasers used for varicose veins treatment?

This question was asked in Irvine, California and has 12 answer(s) as of 09/29/2014.
Why are lasers used so frequently for varicose veins treatment? Are laser treatments more effective than others like sclerotherapy?


Doctors Answers (12)

There are different types of lasers and laser vein treatments. There are surface lasers and lasers that thread inside the vein. Each have specific indications. Sclerotherapy is a very good method that may be utilized with almost all venous problems. Your question is very complex. If you would like to discuss further please call and schedule an evaluation. Insurance does pay to treat symptomatic varicose veins.

Lasers use heat to cause an abnormal vein to turn into scar tissue and therefore close the vein down. Lasers directed into veins below the skin surface ('trunk veins') are the targets when dealing with large varicose vein cases. Surface directed lasers don't do well for the majority of small veins (spider veins). Sclerotherapy is more efficient and cost effective for these tiny veins.

There are two kinds of laser treatments for vein disease. One treatment is use to treat varicose veins. This treatment is called EVLT or Endovenous Laser Therapy. ?It is very successful for treating these deeper veins. The other laser treatment is used for superficial veins (or spider veins) as an alternative to sclerotherapy. Overall, sclerotherapy has a higher success rate in treating spider veins than the laser treatment.

Lasers are highly effective, safe and comfortable for treating leg varicose veins in the office. Modern endovascular lasers use a fiber optic catheter to deliver laser energy inside of the vein, causing the vein to collapse and has a closure rate of greater than 98%. For treating varicose veins, the endovascular laser is far more effective than sclerotherapy injections, which really are best for the treatment of smaller veins including reticular and spider veins.

Lasers are a very effective way to isolate and treat the damaged tissue without damaging the tissue around the vein. This is especially true of the 1320nm and 1440nm lasers. These wavelengths cause very little trauma to the tissue surrounding the vein versus older wavelengths like 810nm and 980nm. Lasers can effective shut down a large damaged vessel down much more efficiently when compared to vein stripping or sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy is still the treatment of choice for superficial vessels that range from about 1-4mm.

Laser Fibers are very effective in closing down the main superficial vein that is causing the varicose veins. (example: great saphenous, small saphenous, etc.) The varicose veins themselves can be treated with phlebectomy or sclerotherapy.

The technology used to treat abnormal veins depends on the size, shape, and location of the veins to be treated. The great or small saphenous veins are long, relatively straight veins which often are treated using endovenous thermal ablation techniques which utilize a catheter or a LASER fiber which are placed inside the vein by a tiny puncture. The LASER fiber delivers a form of light which converts to heat when it strikes the blood or vein wall. Radiofrequency heats the vein wall with high frequency radio waves resulting in sealing of the vein shut in a manner very similar to the LASER procedure. These veins are less commonly closed shut with chemical or mechanical and chemical injury to the inside of the vein. LASER ablation of the saphenous veins is the most commonly used of these techniques in the United States. LASER can be used to treat small superficial veins near the surface of the skin by treating at the surface of the skin. This technique is an option for some small veins which also can be treated with sclerotherapy. We rarely recommend superficial LASER treatent since we think sclerotherapy provides better results in the vast majority of circumstances. The use of LASER for the treatment of these small superficial veins is very different from endovenous thermal ablation which involves passing the LASER fiber up through a much larger saphenous vein.

Yes, Lasers really work well. They are more effective than sclerotherapy in the appropriate patient.

Lasers are used to the treatment of varicose veins as an energy source. The energy is what destroys the varicose veins. Lasers or use with catheter treatments of large ropey veins caused by venous reflux disease. Lasers are also used to treat small superficial varicose veins or spider veins. Whether a patient's varicose veins are treated by lasers, sclerotherapy, radiofrequency catheters, mechanical catheters, or removal depends on type of varicose veins being treated, the underlying cause of the varicose veins, and the expected outcome a patient is desiring.

Lasers are used in two ways to treat veins. Internal lasers are devices that are inserted into a vein and are used to shut a specific vein down. These are suitable for larger and deeper veins such as the saphenous vein. There are also lasers that can be used to treat skin surface veins. These lasers are shined on the skin and are not inserted into the vein. They are effective on the smallest of the skin veins but are not very effective on slightly larger skin veins. Sclerotherapy can be used to treat medium-sized veins and small veins. Sclerotherapy is generally more effective on skin veins then are skin lasers. However, sclerotherapy is not that effective on treating larger veins that are abnormal such as the saphenous vein. In general, a laser can be used to treat an abnormal saphenous vein and sclerotherapy can then be used to clean up the veins that are present on the surface of the skin that were caused by the abnormal saphenous vein.

Lasers are an effective tool for treating the largest veins [ the saphenous veins] . Sclerotherapy is effective and treating all but the largest veins so they work well in combination.

The goal in treating varicose veins is to close the defective vein source. Laser achieves this goal with great success (around 96%). Sclerotheray is an adjunctive ( complementary) procedure used after laser closure. In itself, it fares poorly when compared to laser treatment.

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