It’s often asked of vein specialists: Which is the better treatment for spider veins – sclerotherapy or laser vein treatment? Jacksonville’s Dr. James St. George has nearly two decades of experience as a vascular specialist. He and many others in the field say that despite continued innovations in laser treatment, sclerotherapy remains the gold standard for treatment of spider veins, varicose veins and reticular veins in the legs.
“A number of practices market the use of a laser to treat spider veins,” Dr. St. George says. “However, this is very ineffective. The lasers can treat only a few veins in one setting, which necessitates multiple office visits and treatment sessions for the patient and increases costs. Plus, laser treatments can be painful.”
In a study by the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington, D.C. researchers compared results of sclerotherapy treatment against those of long-pulsed Nd:YAG laser treatment in 20 patients with size-matched spider veins in the lower extremities. Patients received two consecutive monthly treatment sessions with sclerotherapy on one leg, laser on the other. Results were evaluated at each session and at one and three months afterward.
Results showed that spider veins responded best to sclerotherapy and that improvement took fewer treatment sessions with sclerotherapy than with laser treatment.
“Despite recent advances in laser technology for treatment of lower extremity telangiectases [spider veins], sclerotherapy continues to offer superior clinical effect in the majority of cases,” the study report reads.
Laser treatment, however, is effective in treating small spider veins on the face and chest. Sclerotherapy poses a risk of ophthalmic vein thrombosis (blindness) when used near the eyes, says Dr. St. George, noting that the St. Johns Vein Center does not treat facial veins. Laser treatment also is an alternative treatment for patients with needle phobias or sclerosant allergies.
For safe and effective treatment of spider and varicose veins in your legs, call 904-402-VEIN (8346).