Varicose veins to get laser solution

Varicose veins must be treated with lasers, says NICE

The valves inside the veins can stop working, resulting in a backflow of blood and the characteristic bulge

People with varicose veins must be offered laser or heat treatment, say new guidelines for England and Wales.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says, usually, surgery ought to be a final resort.

Up to 1 third of adults within the UK develop varicose veins – swollen, unsightly and sometimes painful veins which have stopped working properly.

As well as being less invasive for the patient, laser therapy is cheaper than surgery for the NHS, says NICE.

Some 35,000 varicose veins procedures are done within the NHS yearly. Switching from surgery to those newer therapies could save the NHS £400,000 a year in England alone, says NICE.

‘Better option’

There was a gentle shift clear of surgery, but many patients are still offered it because the first choice.

In some parts of the rustic, laser and warmth treatment are rarely offered.

Although surgery will still be wonderful for some, NICE says many patients should instead have either laser treatment or heat therapy (endothermal ablation).

Surgery takes around an hour-and-a-half and requires the patient to receive a general anaesthetic. They are able to usually go home at the same day if all goes well.

In comparison, heat or laser treatment takes about 60 minutes, the patient is awake throughout and that they can normally be discharged from hospital within an hour or so of getting the procedure.

These treatments also are less invasive than traditional surgery because they require fewer or smaller incisions.

For both laser and warmth treatment, a catheter is inserted into the offending vein after which a quick burst of energy is dropped at close and seal it.

Prof Alun Davies, who helped write the hot advice, said: “This guideline shows quite clearly that interventional treatment for some patients that suffer from symptomatic varicose veins is a stronger alternative to surgery, and is both clinically and value-effective. It’s going to help standardise take care of all people with this condition.”

Varicose veins affect mainly older people, but in addition those that stand for long periods of their work and pregnant women.

They could be very uncomfortable and are a standard explanation for leg ulcers.