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Two Varicose Veins Treatments Equally Effective
Date:9/19/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Although laser treatment and surgery are both effective in treating varicose veins, it appears that recurrence of one form of the problem is more common with the laser treatment, German researchers report.

Varicose veins are twisted and enlarged veins that usually occur in the legs. As many as 35 percent of adults suffer complications from varicose veins, usually when the leg's so-called great saphenous vein becomes blocked, affecting blood flow. Standard treatments include removing the vein either with surgery or a laser procedure, which can prevent complications and improve quality of life, researchers say.

"Our opinion is that both procedures can be equally offered to the patients with great saphenous vein insufficiency," said lead researcher Dr. Knuth Rass, from Saarland University Hospital in Homburg.

However, patients should be informed that there might be a risk for a higher rate of clinical recurrences beyond two years after the laser treatment, he said.

Bulging varicose veins -- often purple and dark blue -- are usually seen in the legs or feet because standing puts more pressure on them. In some people, the problem may simply be cosmetic, but in others it can cause aching and pain, muscle cramping, itching and other symptoms. When accompanied by skin ulcers near the ankle, varicose veins can even signal a serious vascular disease.

The report was published in the Sept. 19 online edition of the Archives of Dermatology.

For the study, Rass and colleagues randomly assigned 346 patients to undergo either a surgical procedure called high ligation and stripping, or a laser treatment called endovenous laser treatment.

The surgical procedure involves tying off the vein, which runs between the hip and the foot, through a small incision at the hip. In the laser procedure, a catheter is inserted into the ve
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