Suffering from unsightly and painful varicose veins or pesky spider veins? Then you may be wondering which treatment to get: sclerotherapy or laser? Everyone has different needs, so one treatment may be more appropriate than the other.
Both treatments are effective with minimal side effects, but they do have advantages and disadvantages alike.
Let’s take a look at both methods for treating spider veins:
Sclerotherapy is a non-surgical treatment for spider veins. The doctor injects a chemical, called a sclerosant into a vein, causing it to collapse and dry out. The vein gets reabsorbed by the body and disappears.
Sclerotherapy is best for superficial spider veins on the legs and hands. It’s less expensive, faster, and more effective than laser treatment. Sclerotherapy is also better for people with darker skin. Lasers produce light that can cause discoloration in people with tanned skin.
Laser treatment for spider veins is more expensive. and perceived as more painful. But laser treatments are considered the best way to treat spider veins on the face. There are several types of laser treatments:
IPL: Laser and intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments are non-invasive and chemical-free. It involves directing light at the veins from outside the skin. IPL or surface laser treatments take about 15 to 20 minutes depending on the extent of the area. The most common side effect is a temporary purple skin pigmentation that looks like bruising. There can also be some temporary redness, swelling or blistering.
Surface Laser Therapy: Your doctor can treat small-to-medium varicose veins with a laser through the skin, much like with spider veins. Different kinds of lasers can penetrate the skin and reach the veins. The skin is cooled to avoid burning, but patients still report more pain than sclerotherapy.
Endovenous Laser Therapy: Endovenous laser therapy (EVLT) is an effective treatment for larger varicose veins. A laser probe is inserted directly into the vein. As the probe is withdrawn, the intense heat from the laser cauterizes the vein from the inside, causing it to collapse. A single EVLT procedure is more effective than sclerotherapy, which requires multiple sessions.
The Choice is Up to You and Your Vein Doctor
Many patients have both types of vein problems and both types of treatment may be recommended.
The choice of treatment often depends on the location of the veins. Sclerotherapy is better for treating larger varicose veins, especially those on the legs, while laser therapy suits thinner veins on other parts of the body. Sometimes it may need a combination approach to get the best results.
Be sure to talk to your vein doctor to choose the treatment that is most effective and most comfortable for you. The best method for you may be different from that of someone else with the same vein problems. That’s why it’s important to choose an experienced vein specialist for medical advice. He or she can take into account your condition and your unique individual needs.
At Delaware Advanced Vein Center, our medical staff has years of experience helping people with their spider and varicose veins. We would love to welcome you to our family of satisfied patients.