A Steamy Varicose Vein Treatment

Whether the result of genetics, hormone fluctuations or prolonged periods of standing or sitting, varicose veins- that more and more people want to be free of- are those webs of veins that appear dark, enlarged or bulged on the skin. Likely driven by popularity, the treatment of varicose veins, also known as sclerotherapy, now has so many different forms from laser and radiofrequency ablation to ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy and injectable treatments.

Now there is another to add to the list. Presented at the World Congress of Dermatology, endovascular steam ablation of varicose veins is a new treatment that uses puffs of steam from a flexible 1.2 mm catheter to improve the appearance of varicose veins. The pilot study of 20 patients showed a success rate of about 65 percent, which is lower than success often seen in laser and radiofrequency devices, but more studies with larger samples are underway to fine-tune the process and better understand the most effective amount of steam to use. Researchers are excited about the potential of the thermal therapy as a safer and less expensive alternative to other existing treatments.

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