Varicose veins may be setting of next turf war

Harold Abella

It's quick, safe, and relatively painless, and if interventional radiologists want to own it, they'd better step up quickly: Endovenous laser treatment of varicose veins is poised to take off, according to researchers at Cornell University. A two-year follow-up of 97 treated limbs showed a 6% recurrence rate, compared with 10% or higher recurrence that was reported for surgery, radio-frequency ablation, and transcatheter sclerotherapy.

It's quick, safe, and relatively painless, and if interventional radiologists want to own it, they'd better step up quickly: Endovenous laser treatment of varicose veins is poised to take off, according to researchers at Cornell University. A two-year follow-up of 97 treated limbs showed a 6% recurrence rate, compared with 10% or higher recurrence that was reported for surgery, radio-frequency ablation, and transcatheter sclerotherapy.

The U.S. study was presented at this year's 15th annual International Symposium on Endovascular Therapy. It showed that laser treatment can be performed in an outpatient setting.

"Most of the people qualified to perform this procedure should be interventional radiologists, but over the next couple of years there will be thousands of physicians doing it, including vascular and general surgeons and even dermatologists," said Dr. Robert Min, coauthor and director of Cornell's new vascular center.