Choosing Between Sclerotherapy and Laser Vein Therapy

What to Choose Between Sclerotherapy and Laser Vein Therapy
Natasha Fazylova Naturopathic Physician New York, New York

Nourish your body. Invest in yourself. Lifelong adventure to healing and transformation starts NOW using our unique holistic health & wellness approach. Natalya Fazylova, DNP, ANP-BC, BCIM serves as a writer and editor of a health section column in a Russian American Magazine “World Voice”. Dr. Fazylova is a member of the... more

Almost half of the population in the United States is affected by either varicose veins or spider veins. This aggravates the need to know exactly which method among sclerotherapy and laser vein therapy to use. It's not that there are no other treatment methods; there are several, but a majority of patients prefer to use one of the two. Both methods are effective, and only a thin line separates their preference.

Sclerotherapy is a treatment method that involves the injection of a chemical substance in the affected vein, and this causes it to collapse and die. The dead vein is eventually absorbed by the body and ejected out of the system. It works best for small veins. On the other hand, lasers are devices that convert light to heat energy and are used to treat faulty veins.

Points to Consider

  • The size of the affected vein: Smaller veins are best treated by sclerotherapy, while bigger ones can be treated effectively by lasers. However, there is also a thicker foam, Sclerosant, that can be used for larger veins. There are also tiny spider veins that cannot be injected, and therefore a laser is better in such a situation.
  • Skin color: People with darker skin have high melanin, which absorbs too much heat if a laser is used. So, people with darker skin should give sclerotherapy a preference compared to lasers. Lasers are also likely to cause discoloration on the skin.
  • Allergy sensitivity: Those people with highly sensitive skin and body tissues that react to almost any external stimuli or chemical should consider lasers first when searching for a treatment method for their infected veins. It is advisable to have a patch treatment to see how the body reacts before using it intensively.
  • Pain threshold: Sclerotherapy treatments are friendlier since the needles used are not as painful as lasers. This doesn’t mean that lasers are extremely painful; it feels like a snap of a rubber band. There are also no risks of getting burnt. However, if you fear needles in general, then a laser is the better option since no needles are used at all.
  • Cost: Sclerotherapy tends to be cheaper compared to laser treatment. If you're concerned about your budget, you should first consult with the physician to know whether you can use sclerotherapy instead of lasers. However, in some instances where several sclerotherapy treatment sessions might be required, you might have to reconsider your options. For example, a single endovenous laser therapy may be as effective as several sclerotherapy injections.
  • The area to be treated: Some sensitive parts of the body cannot be exposed to chemicals unless in critical circumstances. One part is the eye; if you have spider veins on the face or areas around the eye, then lasers might be a better option. However, it is always advisable to wear protective goggles to prevent eye damage from laser light.
  • Visibility of the infected veins: Veins that cannot be seen clearly from the skin surface should be treated with lasers. This does not rule out sclerotherapy in such cases since an ultrasound system can be used to locate the infected veins underneath the skin. However, Sclerosant on the other hand has an advantage since it can be absorbed even on the feeder capillaries that might not be reached with a laser effectively.

Conclusion:

From the discussion on the subject above, it is evident that various factors affect the choice of the treatment to select. It is advisable to consult with your physician in order to choose the right treatment option for your unique case. Medical practitioners should also adhere to the code of ethics and advise patients honestly without favoring the options they have in respect to either lasers or Sclerosant. The patients, on the other hand, should follow all the given prescriptions and advice in order to be well.