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Imagine this scenario: after visiting a vein specialist to determine if you have varicose veins, you find out that you do, and much to your pleasure, you learn that there are treatments available that are proven to be effective for treating this condition. Naturally, you will want to get a varicose vein treatment, but which one is the best for you?

We will break down the differences between two ways to treat varicose veins in the legs: (1) Radiofrequency Ablation (sometimes just called Endovenous Ablation) and (2) Endovenous Laser Ablation.

SIMILARITIES

  • Both treatments are simple, in-office procedures that do not require a hospital stay.
  • Both procedures take approximately 45 to 60 minutes for the procedure itself, but there could be variations before and after treatment depending on pre-evaluation and post-monitoring protocols.
  • Both treatments ultimately use heat to break down collagen in the vein walls in order to close the vein off.
  • Both treatments use local anesthetic to eliminate discomfort while inserting a catheter into the leg veins using ultrasound guidance. Neither treatment requires the patient to be unconscious, but they may choose a sedative to relax.
  • After the vein is treated and closed off, blood will flow through other, healthy veins, and the discoloration and bulging from the vein will dissipate with time.

DIFFERENCES

Radiofrequency Ablation

  • The catheter that is inserted emits radio frequency (RF) energy, which causes the affected vein to heat up.
  • There is little to no pain after the procedure.
  • The RF energy does not damage the tissues surrounding the treated vein, so there is no discoloration of the skin outside of the treatment site.

Endovenous Laser Ablation

  • The catheter inserted into the vein uses a laser that emits high energy bursts of light to heat up and damage the walls of the bad vein.
  • There is usually some pain after the procedure, but this can be suppressed using over the counter pain medication. This discomfort typically goes away after 36 hours.
  • Compression socks are recommended to help manage proper blood flow after the procedure.

Overall, the purpose of both treatments is to eliminate not only the appearance of varicose veins, but also to prevent the onset of more dangerous vascular diseases. Both treatments are effective in doing this, but Radiofrequency Ablation leaves the fewest traces of the procedure and has the least discomfort. Contact the Katy vein specialist at Premier Vein to get evaluated and see your options for vein treatment.