varicose vein treatment EVLA vs Sclerotherapy

Case Study: varicose vein treatment

July 28, 2020
July 28, 2020 Dr Zil

Varicose veins are a common vein disorder, they develop due to a condition which impacts the vein walls or vein valves. When the veins become damaged, the blood is unable to sufficiently pump back up to the heart and it instead begins to reflux or pool. The treatment of varicose veins varies depending on the severity of the vein issue. The below case study: varicose vein treatment demonstrates one patients experience.

Case file #1: Samantha, 42-year-old patient from Brisbane QLD

Background:

Samantha has always been an active person who enjoys biking, hiking and working out at the gym. After the birth of her two children ten and eight years ago, Samantha has slowed down a bit but still manages to get outside biking with the kids and taking the dogs out for a walk twice a day.

Shortly after the birth of her second child, Samantha noticed that tiny bluish veins appeared on the back of her legs. These didn’t seem to bother her very much and Samantha simply ignored them, hoping they would go away on their own. They didn’t go away, in fact, but seemed to appear more or less the same.

During a routine doctor’s appointment two years ago, the physician advised Samantha that these veins were called “spider veins” and to keep an eye on them, making sure they didn’t get bigger and more dilated, or appear in other areas of the body.

Recently, Samantha discovered several large swollen veins on her upper thigh. Then she remembered that her mom had similar-looking veins located on her lower legs too. It became obvious to her that this condition runs in her family. This concerned Samantha because when her mother was in her 60’s, she developed a condition called varicose ulcers – uncomfortable and itchy sores on the skin. Samantha wanted to make sure this unsightly and potentially dangerous disorder didn’t happen to her.

If you’re unsure if you have varicose veins or spider veins, try our: vein self-assessment tool.

Treatment #1 Sclerotherapy:

Samantha did some research and determined that a popular procedure called Sclerotherapy is very effective at eliminating varicose veins. The treatment entails injecting a sclerosing agent into the vein, causing it to close permanently. She scheduled an appointment at a nearby vein clinic where they advised Samantha that she was a good candidate for this treatment and booked her in for the two rounds of sclerotherapy (spaced six weeks apart).

Several months after her last sclerotherapy procedure, expecting to see her varicose veins gone or at least minimised, Samantha was disappointed when the veins reappeared.  Instead of doing additional sclerotherapy sessions, however, Samantha went to see her doctor who referred her to a Phlebologist or doctor specialising in vein treatments at another vein clinic.

Treatment #2 EVLA:

During her initial assessment and consultation with the Phlebologist, special ultrasound imaging equipment confirmed that Samantha did, in fact, suffer from varicose veins. When learning about her previously unsuccessful round of sclerotherapy sessions, the doctor advised Samantha that for larger veins EVLA (endovenous laser ablation) is more effective. It’s a procedure that uses heat from a laser to clot the blood and seal off varicose veins, preventing the flow of blood.

On the day of her EVLA appointment, the doctor made Samantha very comfortable by administering some local anaesthetic to the treatment area. The doctor then inserted a laser-emitting catheter inside the problem vein with the guidance of ultrasound imagery. The entire procedure took less than one hour and Samantha was able to drive home shortly after her treatment.

Aside from some minor localised swelling and a small bruise, there was very little discomfort and no side-effect post-procedure. The healing process went very smoothly and Samantha was thrilled to see that all the treated varicose veins had disappeared completely within two weeks.

Diagram of veins. One vein is normal with no disease. The other has damaged vein valves causing varicose veins to appear.

Discussion

Both EVLA and Sclerotherapy have their roles to play in vein treatments, however, it’s important to realize for larger veins >5 mm that EVLA is more suitable. Often sclerotherapy can work in treating smaller side veins after the main treatment with EVLA for more permanent treatments.

Seek expert advice

The doctors at The Vein Institute specialise in varicose vein treatment. We offer patients a comprehensive treatment program to treat varicose veins, with non-surgical laser treatment techniques. The benefits of laser treatment to patients are;

  • Walk-in walk-out treatment
  • 98% success rate
  • Extremely effective
  • Can be performed at a clinic (no hospitalisation)
  • No general anaesthetic
  • Medicare rebates apply
  • No downtime or time away from work

To book a consultation and discuss our treatment program, call  1300 535 017. Or, make an enquiry via the Contact Us page.