Sclerotherapy vs. Laser Vein Treatment

In general, sclerotherapy is most commonly used for small varicose veins; while spider veins, which are smaller with visible branches, are treated with laser therapy. Many patients have both types of vein problems and will receive both types of treatment, although not necessarily on the same visit. Since smaller varicose veins can be effectively eliminated with either method, there is no rule that applies in all cases. Upon examining you, your vein doctor will recommend the best treatment plan. Here are some of the factors that vascular surgeons will take into account when deciding whether to recommend sclerotherapy vs. laser vein treatment.

What is Sclerotherapy and How Does it Differ from Laser Ablation?

Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive, non-surgical treatment, where a diseased vein is destroyed with an injection of a sclerosing substance (liquid or foam chemical), designed to irritate the vein. This collapses the vein and the body will absorb the non-functional tissue. Laser vein treatment uses a directed beam of light to collapse and destroy the vein, causing a sensation somewhat like a rubber band snapping against the skin. Both methods have minimal side effects, which can include bruising, redness and swelling.

How Will My Vein Doctor Decide Which Method to Use?

When treating veins that will respond well to either treatment, your vein doctor might choose sclerotherapy if you find the snapping of the laser to be irritating.  On the other hand, if you don’t like needles (although only hair-thin needles are used) or if you are allergic to the sclerosing chemical, your doctor may recommend laser vein treatment. In some cases, individuals don’t like needles to be used in the face, so spider veins there are often treated with a laser. In those with darker skin tones, sclerotherapy may be preferred, however, since certain laser treatments can cause color changes in the treated area. Sclerotherapy also excels at reaching the less-visible branches feeding a varicose vein, branches a laser may miss. For deeper veins, another laser treatment, called EVLT may be used, where a tiny laser probe is inserted into the vein to destroy it.

No matter the extent of your vein disease, you can count on your vein doctor to choose the treatment that is most effective and most comfortable for you. The specific treatment that is best for you may be different from that of someone else with the same vein problems. That’s why it is important to choose an experienced vein specialist at your local vein clinic for medical advice that takes into account your condition and your unique individual needs. Learn about your options for minimally-invasive vein treatment by contacting the NJ Vein & Vascular Institute.


Posted in: Vein Treatment

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