Standard | Concise
In the last 10 years several new ways have been
developed for treating varicose veins. The aim is
to avoid surgical treatment and allow a rapid recovery.
New treatments for varicose veins include ultrasound
guided foam sclerotherapy, VNUS Closure and Laser
Treatment (EVLA). Recent studies show that all of
these work as well as each other in the long term.
The results are as good as or better than surgery.
Guided Foam Sclerotherapy
This method is used as an alternative to surgery
for large varicose veins.
The main surface is vein is injected with
a special foam under ultrasound guidance.
The foam destroys the lining of the vein and
a firm bandage is applied to the leg.
This type of injection is suitable for treating
the main surface veins as well as varicose
The procedure does not require an operating
theatre and is usually carried out in a consulting
room or treatment room. The injection causes
only trivial discomfort.
The cost of this treatment is considerably
less than surgery, VNUS closure and EVLA –
closure - Radiofrequency ablation of Varicose
A general anaesthetic or
tumescent local anaesthetic is required.
A wire is inserted into the vein from the
knee or calf towards the groin under ultrasound
The end of the catheter is electrically
heated by radiofrequency electric current.
The catheter is gradually withdrawn down
the vein heating up and destroying the vein
as it goes.
The visible varicosities are not treated
by this treatment and have to be dealt with
by either phlebectomy or sclerotherapy.
Although surgery is avoided, an operating
or treatment room is required. The cost
of this treatment is also greater than ultrasound
guided foam sclerotherapy and similar to
that of endovenous laser ablation.
Laser Ablation of Varicose Veins
This method is similar
to the VNUS Closure closure technique.
A general anaesthetic or tumescent local
anaesthetic is required.
This time a laser fibre is passed along
the vein from the knee or calf towards the
groin to treat large varicose veins in the
thigh. The progress of the wire is monitored
using ultrasound imaging.
When the laser fibre is in position the
laser is fired to heat the vein.
The vein near the end of the laser fibre
is destroyed. Gradually the wire is removed
from the leg until all of the diseased vein
Visible veins on the surface of the leg
would need to be treated by an alternative
The cost is more than for ultrasound guided
sclerotherapy and surgery.
A range of creams to rub
on thread veins and pills to treat vein
problems is advertised from a number of
Some of the pills may reduce
aching from varicose veins.
No medication of any
type removes varicose veins - whatever the
suppliers may say!
All these treatments! Which is the one for
Philip Coleridge Smith DM FRCS
Reader in Surgery, UCL Medical School, London .
Consultant Vascular Surgeon – BVI Medical
The West London Vein Clinic: Tel 0870 609 2389