Expert advice on varicose vein treatment options

There are various minimally invasive treatments for varicose veins and the Centre for Evidence Based Purchasing (CEP) has published it’s long awaited evidence review on Endovascular Treatment of Varicose Veins this month. CEP, part of NHS PASA but soon to be incorporated into NICE, was established in 2005 to provide impartial and objective information about medical technology to help the NHS make better purchasing decisions.

Following a systematic literature search and survey of expert vascular surgical opinion from across the UK, the verdict is that all the endovascular techniques have the potential to improve patient comfort post procedure, recovery rates and procedure costs. They identified a higher rate of recurrence with Foam Sclerotherapy but both Laser and RFA gave largely similar long term recurrence rates compared with surgery but both have better immediate outcomes (less pain and earlier return to work).

Commenting, vein specialist Dr David West said; “This was a very rigorous assessment of both the economic and clinical effectiveness of RFA, laser and foam sclerotherapy undertaken by an impartial, well respected and experienced scientific body. Their conclusions tally with recently published meta-analyses which show equivalent benefit of laser and RFA over surgery and foam sclerotherapy. In practice there is no difference between all the RFA and laser providers in terms of clinical outcomes.

Any patient seeking expert advice will find: Varicose Veins: Modern Treatment Options by Dr David West a useful starting point.

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