An extensive study to compare the two procedures of laser treatment and surgery suggests that surgery is a better option to treat severe varicose veins.
The doctors at Saarland University hospital, Germany, assigned 400 patients to one of the two procedures, who had all been diagnosed with chronic venous insufficiency of the saphenous vein that runs from the hip to toe.
Two years later, they found out that of 316 patients who could be reached, 51 patients who got the laser treatment and 72 who got it operated, had developed new varicose veins.
However, the ultra sound reports revealed that 18 per cent patients who got laser treatment experienced a backflow of blood where the saphenous vein connects the femoral vein, compared to just one percent of those who had surgery.
Varicose veins are veins that become enlarged and tortuous and a backflow in a vein may lead to bulging varicose veins in future.
Researchers say that though the patients in the laser group are satisfied with the cosmetic results of the process than the surgery group, the aftereffects of laser are much worse than surgery.
They say that the side effects vary to a great level in both the processes. They observed that the surgery group returned back to their normal work in a day or two, without experiencing much trouble, unlike laser patients who experienced change of skin color, blood clots resulting in swelling and pain after the treatment.
According to the report published in the Archives of Dermatology, researchers say that both the treatments seemed equally effective and 98 per cent patients were satisfied with each procedure.
Varicose veins are common in five to 30 percent of adults, without causing any serious trouble but can be severe enough to cause acute pain, swelling, and even wounds, and blood clots in rare instances.
The standard treatment for this is to remove the vein by surgery, known as high ligation and saphenous vein stripping, but other treatments include chemical (non-surgical) processes like sclerotherapy and ambulatory phlebectomy, in which smaller varicose veins are removed through several tiny skin punctures.
Saphenous vein stripping is considered a safe and successful procedure but many patients end up having new varicose veins caused by re-growth of blood vessels.
The more popular and persistent option, despite being more expensive is the laser treatment, called endovenous laser ablation, in which a small probe is inserted into the vein and causes it to collapse and disappear. However, the observations of the study states that surgery is a better option to treat severe varicose veins.