Foam May Be Best to Blast Varicose Veins

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Varicose veins, those unsightly reminders of aging and pregnancy, are better treated by foam injections than laser ablation, says Imperial College London. Known as foam sclerotherapy, injecting foam sclerosant drugs into the vein, which inflames its lining and closes off the vessel, is the easiest route for patients to recover from and get back to their everyday lives, the study found. Endovenous laser ablation requires local anesthesia when a short burst of energy seals the vein closed. With the more tradition surgical treatment, the vein is tied off through a cut in the groin, requiring general anesthesia.

Among the 100 patients studied, both foam and laser were equally effective in closing off veins that have faulty valves, causing them to swell and become visible on the skin’s surface. However, the patients who received foam injections recovered twice as quickly and the cost was more than four times less than the laser treatment on average, the ICL researchers reported at the annual meeting of the European Society for Vascular Surgery in Athens held September 22 to 25.

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