Vein Treatments: EVLT & VNUS Closure — What’s the Difference?

Sometimes I have patients who share their post-operative stories with me. One of which relates to conversations with friends post-procedure. The exchange usually goes like this:

Friend: What’s with the hose and/or the knee-high running socks?

Patient: I had a vein treatment done. These are compression hose.

Friend: Oh, doesn’t that hurt? My friend had that done and she said it hurt!

Patient: She didn’t have a VNUS Closure then.

Friend: Isn’t that a laser treatment?

Patient: No, it’s similar though but doesn’t hurt!

Here’s the deal. Vein treatments have come a long way since the days of vein ligation (stripping). The minimally invasive technology used now continues to evolve, resulting in little to no pain for patients, quicker recovery times, and a nearly 100% effectiveness rate.

There are two minimally invasive treatments performed today that are practically identical in procedure type and short- and long-term effectiveness — EVLT (endovenous laser treatment) and VNUS Closure. Both close the superficial great and small saphenous veins, using a small catheter and high energy to close the vein.

Here’s where the difference lies:

EVLT heats the inside of the vein to about 800-1000 degrees, using an optical fiber and laser energy. This high temperature not only sears the vein but also a lot of the tissues around it. The result is more pain, more tissue damage, more bruising, and longer recovery post procedure. The VNUS system heats the vein to about 240 degrees with radiofrequency energy and is much more precise and controlled, with little to no damage to surrounding tissue.

I started out using laser and would often get calls from patients the day after the procedure, telling me how much they hurt. Most patients required prescription pain meds. Now that I have switched to the VNUS system, I rarely get calls about pain and almost never have to prescribe prescription pain relief.

Of the doctors who perform EVLT, they continue to do so because it is does effectively close the vein, ending the pain and symptoms of venous insufficiency and it is cost-effective for them – most of these doctors own their own EVLT laser generator.

However, the post-operative effect on my EVLT patients was enough to make me switch to the VNUS system completely. I believe it is the best way to achieve better looking, better feeling results for my patients.

As for the funny knee-high compression running socks? I say they make quite the fashion statement and that you’re a trend-setter!