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Miramichi, New Brunswick
Phone: (506) 836-9100

When to Choose Sclerotherapy vs. Laser Vein Therapy

Sclerotherapy vs. Laser Vein Therapy

Many of us are plagued with varicose veins in our legs, which are engorged, twisted vessels that are filled by a back-up of blood. They occur when the one-way valves within a vein malfunction and allow blood to flow backwards and pool in the vein. They cause throbbing, swelling and heaviness, especially in the legs.

Spider veins are another problem that many of us deal with. Spider veins are often seen on the surface of the skin on the face, hands and legs. They cause less severe symptoms than varicose veins but are an unsightly, web-like vein condition.

If you suffer from either of these vein issues, you may be wondering when it is most appropriate to choose sclerotherapy and when it is better to choose laser therapy.

Candidates for Sclerotherapy
This is a non-surgical treatment during which a chemical or sclerosant is injected into the vein causing it to collapse and be reabsorbed by the body.
Sclerotherapy is the best choice for patients with: Low pain thresholds (it is less painful than laser therapy), dark skin, and superficial spider veins (because it is less expensive, faster, and more effective than laser).

Candidates for Laser Vein Therapy
This procedure is an effective treatment for larger varicose veins. Laser vein therapy is the best choice for: Patients who seek less bruising (bruises from laser don’t last as long as those from sclerotherapy), those who aren’t bothered by the pain of the laser, and those who have problems in deeper veins (laser is not used for surface spider veins).

Face, Hands, Legs…Does it Matter?

This is most effective on spider veins or smaller varicose veins, especially on hands and legs. It is sometimes used as an additional mode of treatment after traditional vein surgery.

Some spider veins are too small or resistant to be treated with sclerotherapy and are better candidates for laser treatment.

Laser Therapy
A single laser treatment is an effective therapy choice for facial spider veins. Small wavelength lasers destroy very superficial spider veins. Longer wavelength lasers are used to treat larger, 1 mm to 3 mm diameter, spider veins since they penetrate deeper.

What to Expect

Sclerotherapy Procedure
Sclerotherapy is done in a physician’s office and takes about 30 minutes, depending upon the size of the area. A saline based chemical or sclerosant is injected directly into the vein to irritate the lining and cause it to seal up.

Before the injection, the affected area is elevated to drain the blood. Then, a very fine gauge needle is used to inject the sclerosant into the vein. In cases involving larger veins, a catheter is threaded into the vein using ultrasound guidance and then the sclerosant is injected.

Pain and Recovery
There is usually some burning or cramping during and after each injection. Sclerotherapy is less painful than laser treatment.

Pressure, by wearing compression stockings, is applied to the treated leg(s) for several days to weeks following the injections. It is important to avoid strenuous activity for several days, though treated facial and hand veins require little to no recovery phase.

The possible side effects of sclerotherapy include:
• Skin discoloration
• No cosmetic effect
• Itching, burning and pain at the site
• Scarring
• Tissue necrosis
• Allergic reaction to the sclerosant

Laser Vein Procedure
A numbing injection is given, then a very thin fiber or catheter is threaded into the vein. Light beams are pulsed in through the catheter. This creates intense heat and seals off the vein as the fiber is withdrawn. This is called endovenous laser treatment (EVLT).

Pain and Recovery
Laser patients describe the discomfort during the procedure as being similar to a rubber band snapped against skin. There is mild discomfort reported after the procedure.

Patients return to normal activities within a day or so after the procedure. The most common side effect is a temporary purple skin pigmentation that looks like bruising.

The possible side effects or risks of laser vein treatment include:
• Bleeding
• Bruising
• Infection
• Blood clots
• No cosmetic effect

Both procedures carry a 50% to 80% success rate after two years. Patients often need repeat procedures every one to three years to treat new varicosities.

An evaluation and frank discussion with a vein specialist about the pros and cons of either technique, sclerotherapy or laser treatment, to treat bothersome and unsightly varicose or spider veins will yield the best outcome for each individual.

Read more: http://www.veindirectory.org/article/when-to-choose-sclerotherapy-vs-laser-vein-therapy.html

Ambrosia Cosmetic Clinic • Miramichi, New Brunswick / (506) 836-9100

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