Schulman Vein and Laser Center

Schulman Vein and Laser Center New York Discusses Laser Treatment Best Option for Varicose Veins

When treating varicose veins, laser therapy remains the best option, a new study says.


New York, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/02/2014 -- Researchers in the study examined 798 participants who had varicose veins and were treated at 11 vascular surgery centers in the United Kingdom, between November 2008 and October 2012. The participants underwent one of three types of treatments: closing off the veins with a laser, injecting a drug "foam" into the vein or surgically removing the vein.

After six months, the researchers compared the outcomes, looking at how well the treatments worked and at their complication rates, as well as how the participants rated the change in their quality of life since their treatments.

"The main findings indicated that laser therapy was the preferred treatment for varicose veins," said study author Dr. Julie Brittenden, a professor in vascular surgery at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. "We found that all three treatments reduced symptoms associated with varicose veins, but there were fewer complications after laser treatment." [7 Beauty Trends That Are Bad for Your Health]

What causes varicose veins?

Varicose veins are blood vessels that have become swollen, enlarged and twisted. Improperly working valves in the veins cause the disorder, Brittenden explained. In people who have this condition, blood returns up to the heart from the veins in the legs because of the contraction of the calf muscles, she said. Normally, valves in these veins prevent blood from flowing backwards, down towards the feet.

"People with varicose veins have leaky valves, which means that some blood flows backward and pools in the veins, causing them to become enlarged," she said.

The procedure called endovenous laser ablation, or laser therapy, uses heat generated by laser energy to seal off faulty blood vessels, diverting blood flow immediately to nearby healthy veins.

Foam treatment involves injecting drugs into a blood vessel. The medicines, when mixed with air, cause the vessel wall to thicken, which also helps to seal off blood flow. The recent study showed that foam was less likely than the other treatments to completely close a vein that had leaky valves, which may increase the likelihood that a patient will need future treatment, Brittenden said.

In the study, about 1 percent of patients who underwent treatment with a laser experienced complications such as lumpiness, skin staining and numbness. About 6 percent of those who received the foam treatment, and 7 percent of those who underwent surgery experienced such complications, according to the study.

The researchers also found that successful ablation of the great saphenous vein occurred in 83 percent of those who received the laser treatment and 84.4 percent of the participants who underwent surgery. These numbers were significantly higher than the 54.6 percent who had such successful ablation after the foam treatment. The great saphenous vein, the longest in the body, runs along the length of the leg.

The study appears in today's (September 24) issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Kevin McMullen, a vascular surgeon at Surgical Hospital of Oklahoma who was not involved with the study, said he agreed with Brittenden's conclusion. "Laser is preferred over surgery or foam due to higher success rates with the least amount of complications," he said.

Laser therapy works better than foam on larger veins, as the success rates for foam treatments worsens with increasing vein size, McMullen said. However, surgery may be the best choice for patients who have previously had vein procedures, or who have anatomical issues, such as veins that are very close to the skin or are larger than three-quarters of an inch (20 millimeters) in diameter, he said.

Can varicose veins be prevented?

Varicose vein treatment is not done just for cosmetic reasons, Brittenden said. "People with varicose veins often suffer from aches and discomfort," she told Live Science. "The condition can also cause swelling of the ankles, skin changes and sometimes ulcers."

Both men and women get varicose veins, she said. The condition is more common in pregnant women, older patients, overweight people and those who stand for long periods. It is also more prevalent in people who have a family history of varicose veins.

People can't prevent varicose veins from forming, but may be able to delay their formation or prevent existing varicose veins from getting worse, according to the National Institutes of Health. The NIH recommends that people avoid standing or sitting for a long time without taking breaks; avoid crossing their legs when sitting; and keep their legs raised when sitting, resting or sleeping.

Losing weight and doing exercise that works the leg muscles can also help, the NIH said.

Brittenden said that she and her team plan to follow the study participants for five years, as long-term results are important in determining longer-term costs and consequences of each of the treatments, such as recurrent varicose veins.

About Schulman Vein and Laser Center
New York City and Long Island Vein Specialists With so many vein centers and vein clinics ‘popping up’, why have vein treatment from Schulman Vein and Laser Center…At the Schulman Vein And Laser Center, all varicose and spider veins are treated non-surgically, by virtually painless injection therapy sclerotherapy, micro ambulatory phlebectomy, or ultrasound assisted laser treatments. With these treatments, veins gradually seal shut and disappear. The blood loss and scarring associated with surgery are eliminated. All varicose vein and spider vein treatment is administered exclusively by the doctors. Our work is done with the most uncompromising high standards, using only FDA approved medications and disposable, single use equipment. Patients are able to resume full activity immediately (including driving).

- ALL WE DO IS VEINS TM- 100% of our medical practice is vein therapy

- Experience- we have over 55 years combined of vein-only specialization.

- The Schulman Vein and Laser Center doctors are individually board certified in Vascular Surgery and Phlebology (diagnosis and treatment of venous disorders)

- Unlike many hospitals or ‘clinics’ where medical students, interns, residents, nurses or physicians assistants many be learning and perform treatments, ALL OF OUR PATIENTS ARE TREATED PERSONALLY BY ONE OF THE TWO DOCTORS

- We offer multiple minimally invasive vein treatment methods including ultrasound assisted therapy, laser (EVLT- EndoVenous Laser Treatment), micro-surgery, injection compression therapy (sclerotherapy), foam sclerotherapy, and electrocautery (veingogh like electric treatments)

- All laser treated, microsurgery, out-of-town and out-of-the country patients are given the personal cell phone number of Dr. Schulman should they have any pressing questions

- Our goal is to provide the best results for our patients with the least invasive procedures available

- Many treatments can be completed in one or two visits

- All laser and micro-surgery treatments are done using only local (only into the leg near the vein) anesthesia, and all patients are able to walk normally and drive themselves home afterwards.

- All new patients are called by the Schulman Vein and Laser Center staff the day after their initial treatment to check on them as a courtesy follow up.

- We have presented and lectured about our work and original vein treatment methods at the largest vein specialty, dermatology as well as cosmetic and plastic surgery meetings in America.

- While most of our work is done on leg veins, there is almost no part of the body we have not successfully treated, including veins in the hands, arms, face, chest/breast, vaginal area, back and abdomen.

- At Schulman Vein and Laser Center we treat all patients for both the best medical as well as cosmetic results.

- All of our medical research is devoted to the field of vein therapy.

- We were the first doctors to ever lecture on hand vein treatment, as well as treating patients on the blood thinner Coumadin at a major medical meeting.

- We are both well recognized internationally in our field of Phlebology (diagnosis and treatment of venous conditions) for our contributions and advancements.

What is most important is that a patient with worsening varicose or spider veins, venous ulcerations, venous insufficiency, pain from leg veins or just a desire to have an improved cosmetic appearance, is to see a doctor who truly specializes in vein therapy.

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