Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Daily Mail Article - Varicose veins? Forget lasers and try a quick squirt of foam

On 10th January 2012, The Daily Mail in the UK ran an article:

"Varicose Veins? Forget lasers and try a quick squirt of foam".

This article featured a patient who had had been treated with Foam Sclerotherapy to her Great Saphenous Vein (GSV) - the cause of her varicose veins. The "General and Vascular Surgeon" who performed the procedure explained that they had done a study comparing laser (EVLA - endovenous laser ablation) with Foam Sclerotherapy.

He is quoted as say that the Foam Sclerotherapy is cheaper and just under half needed a second treatment as the first hadn't worked properly.

However, those of us who spend all of our time treating veins know the research that shows that in veins over 6 mm diameter, after 3 years most of the veins have re-opened again, causing the previous problems (varicose veins, skin damage, leg ulcers etc) to return.

With EVLA (laser) - if done properly as in The Whiteley Protocol - the closure of the treated vein in 99.9% at first procedure AND is PERMANENT.

Therefore the claims that Foam Sclerotherapy is cheaper and less painful in these large varicose veins can only be made because the study hasn't checked the results at 3 years and 5 years.

Many studies on Foam Sclerotherapy in these large veins have already been done, and so those of us who want the best long term results for our patients do not use Foam Sclerotherapy in vein larger than 3 mm.

It is always a concern to us vein specialists who are sought out by patients who have had multiple vein procedures that have failed in the medium to long term, to see articles like this that encourage people to have a procedure for a short term benefit when there is very good research to show it is not a good idea in the long term.

Foam Sclerotherapy does indeed have a place in the treatment for varicose veins, but as an additional procedure to laser (EVLA) NOT to replace it.

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