Not Your Mother's Vein Therapy: 3 New Techniques That Are Sweeping the Nation

Posted on: 15 October 2018


Many a child has looked at their parent's or grandparent's and seen varicose veins. These are enlarged veins on the backside of the upper calf which are dark blue or purple. While many generations have passed with either no treatment for this condition or treatments that were quite intrusive or painful, future generations can rest assured that technology has come a long way. Current therapies for vein conditions vary widely, and with some effort, one who experiences varicose veins can find a treatment that will meet their needs and their budget. As a disclaimer, it is very important to know the cause of your vein condition before trying to choose a treatment option. Deep-rooted veins will require very different vein therapy from those that superficial varicose veins would require. 

1. Sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy is a procedure to treat varicose veins. It is performed by a licensed doctor and can be done right in the office. Sclerotherapy is often the treatment of choice for varicose veins since it is not very invasive and often has quick results. It is performed by first numbing the area. A small amount of solution will then be introduced to the vein via a needle. This solution causes the vein to scar internally, impeding blood flow in that vein. With no blood flow, the vein often collapses, solving the problem of bulging varicose veins. 

2. Radiofrequency Ablation. Radiofrequency ablation, while aiming for the same goal as sclerotherapy (causing the vein to collapse and solving the problem of varicose veins), is a different procedure that has often been popular among Americans. This method involves a small cut in the skin to inject a catheter that emits energy via a radio wave. Depending on the severity of the vein dilation, this radio wave energy can be increased or decreased. The energy effectively burns the inside of the vein, causing it to scar and close up. 

3. Endovenous Laser Treatment. Endo (meaning inside) and venous (meaning vein) is very similar to a radio frequency ablation. It is burning the vein from the inside to decrease blood flow. However, instead of using radio wave energy to burn the vein, a small catheter containing a laser is inserted.

Many studies have been performed to try and evaluate which of the three treatments is better, but they actually have very similar results. Talk to your doctor about what treatments he or she offers and what each treatment would cost.