Varicose veins are a common manifestation of venous insufficiency or chronic venous disease (CVD). They are characterized by impaired capability of transporting blood back to the heart against gravity. The twisted, swollen and enlarged structures on the leg are often a major cosmetic concern to the sufferer. However, as disease progresses symptoms can arise which require professional medical treatment.

Treatment alternatives beside surgery and sclerotherapy

In recent years many treatment alternatives beside surgery and sclerotherapy have been developed and tested in clinical studies. Especially endothermal ablation techniques have established in routine clinical practice and are even recommended treatment alternatives by official authorities like the NHS in the UK. Currently there are three ablative techniques available: Radiofrequency ablation, endothermal laser ablation and echotherapy (HIFU – High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound).

Radiofrequency ablation

Radiofrequency ablation is a method using a wire-like catheter to introduce direct heat to the inner vein wall of the diseased vein. For this therapy a cut is necessary to allow the catheter to be inserted into the vein. The tip of the catheter then releases controlled radiofrequency energy that heats the wall and causes a collapse and closure of the varicose vein when pulled back.

Endothermal laser ablation

Endothermal laser ablation works similarly to radiofrequency ablation and also requires a cut in order to insert a catheter into the varicose vein. By emitting bursts of energy through the laser, the vein walls are heated up and collapse subsequently.

Echotherapy (HIFU)

Echotherapy (SONOVEIN) treats varicose veins with therapeutic ultrasound and is the most recent innovation in varicose vein treatments. Multiple intersecting beams of ultrasound are concentrated on a target area which generates a temperature rise at the focus point. Similar to laser and radiofrequency the varicose vein will close due to the temperature rise but the need to insert a catheter into the leg is eliminated with this technique which treats from outside the body. Also no sclerosant chemical product is injected.

Are genetics linked to varicose veins?

Other treatment alternatives

Other, non-thermal procedures include glue being injected into the vein to close the vein – mechanochemical endovenous ablation, which uses a combination of physical destruction and sclerotherapy to close the vein.


If you want to know more about echotherapy and find out if you are eligible for treatment, please contact us. A team of professionals will get in touch with you to answer all of your questions.

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