Varicose Vein Treatment: Laser or Sclerotherapy?

Mixed vein images to illustrate laser or sclerotherapy for varicose vein treatment
October 23, 2021 0 Comments

Got varicose veins? Wondering about varicose vein treatment? No problem. There are several vein removal options available for both varicose veins and spider veins. The easiest way to find out which treatment will be most effective for your specific needs is to consult with a vein specialist.

However, we know that some people like to do their own research first. So today, we’ll focus on the best varicose vein treatment, specifically looking at sclerotherapy for varicose veins and laser treatment for varicose veins.

First, let’s take a quick second to differentiate between varicose veins and spider veins. That way, you’ll know what you have and can choose the article and treatment that fits your needs.

What’s the Difference Between Spider Veins and Varicose Veins?

Spider veins are smaller and closer to the surface of the skin. They look like purple or red spider webs and typically show up on your face, ankles, or legs. Varicose veins are medium or large in size. They tend to turn blue, red, or purple, and swell or bulge up, lifting the skin. Varicose veins are most often found in your legs.

Varicose Vein Cause: What Happened Here?

One more quick thing before we compare varicose vein laser therapy and sclerotherapy for varicose veins. It always helps to know what you’re dealing with before you try to treat it. That way, you can more fully understand why one treatment might work better over another one.

Varicose veins form when blood begins to pool in one area. This can happen because of weak valves or a loss of elasticity in the blood vessels. If your veins have trouble returning blood to your heart, then you’ve got problems, especially in your legs.

Why? The veins of your legs have to work against gravity to pump blood back up to your heart. Your calf muscles help move the blood, and the tiny valves in your veins prevent any backflow. Aging and lifestyle choices cause the veins in your legs to weaken and stretch, and your valves can malfunction. When that happens, your blood can pool up and form the unsightly, gnarly veins that show through your skin.

Varicose veins occur in around 50% of the population:

  • during pregnancy (although they can disappear after birth)
  • in people who stand or sit for long periods
  • in overweight or obese individuals
  • in the aging population

Sclerotherapy or Laser Treatment: Which Is Right for Me?

Sclerotherapy and laser vein therapy have the same goal, but they achieve it in different ways. It works like this. Ultimately, you want to irritate damaged veins enough for them to close and eventually seal shut. Once the veins are closed, they no longer work, and your blood reroutes itself to healthier veins. Circulation will return to normal, and the treated vein will break apart and be absorbed by nearby tissue.

The main difference between sclerotherapy and laser vein treatment is that

  • sclerotherapy is a chemical injection that closes the vein, while
  • laser vein treatment uses highly focused light energy to damage the vein.

Typically, laser treatment is used for medium to large varicose veins, whereas sclerotherapy is used for small varicose veins and spider veins. Depending on your situation, your vein specialist may also use a combination of both treatments to get the best results.

When sclerotherapy may be a better option

  • if you have small varicose veins
  • if you have a low pain threshold
  • if you have darker skin

When laser treatment may be a better option

  • if you are allergic to the solution used for sclerotherapy
  • if you have medium or large varicose veins
  • if you have telangiectatic matting

Both vein treatments are minimally invasive, and there’s no scarring. You can return to your normal daily activities immediately.

Recovery Time

The amount of time it takes to recover from either treatment will depend on the size and extent of the diseased veins.

After both treatments, you are asked to stand up and start walking around. This decreases the risk of blood clots. In most cases, you can expect to return to your usual activities without any restrictions, although it may be best to avoid overexertion and strenuous exercises for 3-5 days after treatment. Mild discomfort and bruising are not uncommon and should resolve within two to six weeks.

Your vein specialist may also recommend that you wear compression stockings for about a week into the recovery period.


This is what you’ve stuck around for, right? When it comes to varicose vein removal, it’s all about results.

Results from sclerotherapy may appear a little more quickly because the veins are smaller and will take less time to close up, dissolve, and disappear. You can expect a noticeable difference within three to six weeks after treatment. Once treated, the affected veins will not return. You’ll enjoy long-lasting results and healthier-feeling, noticeably smoother legs.

Results from laser vein therapy will be most noticeable within 2-3 weeks after treatment. Over a period of a few months, the veins will completely disappear, and your skin will be smooth and supple again. Any pain or discomfort that the varicose veins were causing will disappear along with the damaged veins. Once treated, the affected veins will not return.


By now, you may be asking which is the safest treatment for varicose vein removal. Both sclerotherapy and laser vein removal are minimally invasive treatments that are safe and effective. They each have their pros and cons.

In light of that, the best method for you may not be the same as the best method for someone else.

Although both methods of varicose vein treatment can be safely used to treat your veins, a vein specialist will know which will be best for your situation. An experienced vein specialist will consider

  • your condition and
  • your unique individual needs

to develop the perfect treatment to remove your varicose veins.

We Can Help!

Are you ready to watch those blue, ropy, bulging veins fade away forever? We can help! We specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of men and women with varicose veins and spider veins. Our minimally invasive techniques provide effective, safe vein treatment in a comfortable outpatient office setting. Contact us for a consultation, and we’ll get rid of those pesky veins and get you back into your regular routine in no time!

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Article Name
Varicose Vein Treatment: Laser or Sclerotherapy?
When it comes to discussing varicose vein treatments, you need to know the facts about both sclerotherapy and laser treatments. You can then discuss with your healthcare provider the best choice for you. Read on to learn more.