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In the United States, approximately 1 in 5 adults are affected by varicose veins. These twisted, rope-like veins in the legs are often a cosmetic concern, but they can also cause aching pain. They are caused by a disease known as superficial venous insufficiency, in which tiny valves in the veins do not operate properly, allowing blood to pool. Traditional surgery for varicose veins is highly invasive and can have a long healing process. Fortunately, there is a more appealing option. Here is what you should know about minimally invasive, non-surgical laser treatment for varicose veins.
Simple Laser Treatment
Lasers have revolutionized medicine in many ways. For varicose veins, the focused heat of the laser causes just enough damage to the vein to create scar tissue, which seals the vein. Simple laser treatment is used for spider veins just beneath the surface of the skin. The laser remains on the outside of the skin, and you will typically need a few sessions 6 to 12 weeks apart.
Endovenous Laser Treatment
Endovenous laser treatment is used for larger varicose veins in the legs. After mapping out the vein with ultrasound and numbing the area with a local anesthetic, we will insert a thin laser fiber into the vein to seal it. We recommend that you start walking right away and return to your normal routine immediately.
What to Expect After Treatment
Mild soreness and bruising are not unusual in the first five days. These symptoms generally respond well to non-aspirin pain relievers. You can resume regular activities immediately, and vigorous activities after a week or two, as instructed by your doctor. You may need to wear compression stockings for about a week. At your follow-up appointment, we will use ultrasound to ensure that the vein is properly sealed.
Simple laser treatment has been available for more than 20 years. It is considered quite safe and effective, though as mentioned above, you may need multiple treatments.
Endovenous laser treatment has a success rate of approximately 94% in a single treatment. If the vein does not fully seal, we may recommend a second treatment.
Risks and Side Effects
No medical treatment is entirely risk-free. Though the risks are extremely low, laser treatment for varicose veins has been associated with the following side effects:
- Skin burns
- Skin discoloration
- Nerve damage
- Blood clots
We will instruct you on what signs to look out for and what to do if you notice any side effects. In general, though, there are far fewer risks to laser treatment than traditional vein-stripping surgery.
Ready to Get Started?
If you are ready for a new, fully integrated approach to health and wellness, contact CORE Medical & Wellness today at 888-521-0688 to learn more or schedule your appointment!
Dr. Steven Kim received his B.A. in biochemistry from Cornell University, then completed his M.S. from Columbia University and his M.D. from the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. Dr. Kim specializes in the treatment of varicose veins and vein disease. Read his full bio here.