Surgery vs. Laser Treatment for Varicose Veins

By on April 3, 2015
surgery vs. laser treatment for varicose veins

When you were younger, you never thought about the problems you might face as you age. Varicose veins might be one of those things you never considered, but if you have them – What can you do?

Varicose veins are large veins, usually in the lower legs that have stretched over time – and they can hurt. You might have gotten them because you spend a good deal of time standing on your feet or simply because you have a family history. About one-third of the population will eventually develop varicose veins.

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These large, blue or purple veins can ache, make your legs feel heavy or even painful. You can relieve some of the pressure by exercising, staying hydrated, wearing supportive garments, or when all else fails, elevating your feet. But if you’re not finding relief after trying all these things – or they are particularly bothersome, actual treatment may be necessary.

Surgery for Varicose Veins

Traditionally, varicose veins have been treated with surgery. A physician would surgically remove the vein from your leg through an incision. The body does regrow some new veins to take over so that your circulatory system works as it should, but there are some drawbacks to surgery. Surgery is invasive, can require hospitalization and significant recovery time with pain to match – and it also has risks of bleeding and infection.

Newer treatments using laser therapy are making the treatment of varicose veins much less invasive – quicker and less risky.

Laser treatment works by beaming a ray of light, through the skin, where it is focused on the vein itself. With laser treatment, your veins are “sealed off” rather than removed. The laser causes scar tissue to develop at certain points on the vein so that blood no longer flows through it. Other veins in your leg “take over” the blood flow – so that all of your body tissue still gets the oxygen and nutrients that are needed.

With laser therapy, your recovery time is minimal. It is often a short procedure that allows you to visit a physician right in their office – or at a day-surgery clinic. You can walk in on your own legs, and walk out a short time later.

There is no incision and no need to put you to “sleep” but you will need one or more injections of an anesthetic into your leg which some people find quite uncomfortable as the medication itself can cause a burning sensation. If you have a fear of needles, this is something you will have to overcome and some people may benefit from anti-anxiety medicine or even will need to be “put out” while the doctor works.

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Varicose vein treatment has come a long way and it is going further. Some companies are working on further advancements that are virtually pain-free and may not require any anesthetic injections at all. One type of treatment even involves a type of medical “superglue” that sticks the veins together on its own.

This type of treatment is well on its way – but is still in the testing phase. Medical equipment or devices that are used for medical treatments in humans require regulatory approval. In most cases, they have to undergo lengthy clinical testing over a number of years to make sure the procedures are both effective and safe.

It may still be a few years before developing procedures are available for the public – and covered by insurance. Currently, varicose vein surgery and laser treatments are usually covered by insurance but newer, approved treatments must be paid for “out-of-pocket”.



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Surgery vs. Laser Treatment for Varicose Veins