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Study Finds Vein Laser Therapy Better Than Surgery

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MIAMI BEACH, Fla., Jan. 27 -- Four years after the introduction of laser therapy for the treatment of varicose veins, a study suggests that laser treatment is better than surgery. Two-year follow-up results on 97 patients treated with endovenous laser treatment (ELVT) were presented last week at the 15th Annual International Symposium on Endovascular Therapy.

In the longest follow-up study of laser therapy for varicose veins to date, Robert Min, M.D., director of a New York Cornell Weill Medical College center called Cornell Vascular, reports that varicose veins recurred in only 6 percent of patients treated with the laser compared to 10 percent or more of patients who undergo surgery and other procedures. The laser therapy seals painful, swollen veins shut by delivering laser energy to the blood vessel lining.

"It's one thing to say that varicose veins are still closed two months after treatment. It's much more powerful to say that we've been doing this for several years -- our longest follow-up is 3.5 years -- and our results are better than surgery," Min said.
   Min, who developed EVLT, has performed more than 500 treatments on varicose saphenous veins, the most common site of significant varicose disease. The procedure involves injecting a local anesthetic under ultrasound guidance, inserting a catheter and laser fiber through a small skin incision and continuously delivering laser energy along the entire length of the blood vessel wall.

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Jan 2003
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