Which is Better for Varicose Veins: Sclerotherapy or Endovenous Ablation?

Which is Better for Varicose Veins: Sclerotherapy or Endovenous Ablation?

Varicose veins are, for many, a cosmetic issue, because the twisted, discolored blood vessels affect the look of their legs. Often resulting from long stretches of time spent sitting or standing, the veins start to fail and blood begins to pool, creating the characteristic appearance of spider and varicose veins. 

In other cases, these damaged veins create itchiness, soreness, and pain. Skin over varicose veins can develop slow-healing ulcers as well as discoloration problems. Visit MD Vein and Skin Specialists for effective varicose vein treatment. You have several options to choose from, including sclerotherapy or endovenous ablation

Superficial veins

Varicose veins and their smaller cousins called spider veins create cosmetic problems when they’re close to the skin’s surface. Valves in veins help to ensure the one-way movement of blood back toward the heart. As veins deteriorate, these valves begin to fail, collapsing against the weight of the blood above them, allowing pools of blood to form, pressing against and expanding the blood vessel walls. 

These veins no longer efficiently return blood to the heart, and in many cases, the body creates alternate routes to ensure proper circulation. Varicose veins can therefore be removed without compromising blood flow or your health. 


A traditional method for varicose vein removal is sclerotherapy. This method introduces a chemical irritant into the vein that completely blocks blood flow. Once this flow is stopped, your body starts the process of removing vein tissue, since it no longer contributes. Within weeks, the vein is reabsorbed by the body and it disappears. 

Sclerotherapy can be done with liquid or foam agents. Dr. Clement Banda here at MD Vein and Skin Specialists prefers foam sclerotherapy since it’s typically a one-shot treatment, while liquid agents often require follow-up sessions for full removal. 

Endovenous ablation

Like sclerotherapy, endovenous ablation blocks the varicose vein, triggering absorption by your body. However, instead of a chemical irritant, endovenous ablation uses heat to compromise vein tissue. 

Laser ablation uses energy delivered by a medical laser to warm the tissues of vein walls, while radiofrequency ablation uses radio waves. Otherwise, both methods work in a similar fashion. 

Which treatment is better? 

Endovenous ablation is the choice when medium to large veins need treatment. One comparative study showed that sclerotherapy was less effective at vein removal than laser-based endovenous ablation. 

However, for small and medium varicose veins, the difference may be less dramatic, and Dr. Banda sometimes recommends sclerotherapy for some patients. Both approaches produce effective results, and your particular case may be a factor in treatment. 

Find out more about varicose vein treatment by contacting MD Vein and Skin Specialists in Columbia, Maryland. You can reach the office by phone or by using the link on this page. With fall and winter on the way, now is the time to ensure your legs look their best for your next warm weather experience. Book your appointment now. 

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