Laser Vein Treatment – The Costly Confusion

Over the last twenty to thirty years the word “Laser” has come to be a word with mythological and perhaps magical meaning. What does the word “Laser” mean to the average person? For many, it conjures up the image of a beam of light that cuts through everything imaginable.

Veins over the last 10 years or so have also become part of the social conscience. Yes, veins have been treated since the the Egyptian time but have always been an outlier in regard to medical treatment.

Many physicians still believe them to be a cosmetic procedure only.

Take two things with varied understanding and you have a recipe for confusion and exploitation.

Vein and Laser Center, what does that title mean to you? Southeast Vein and Laser is a medical vein clinic in Dothan, Alabama, however the only review on Yahoo refers to spider vein treatment. Do they treat medical varicose veins, venous ulcers or just spider veins? They actually treat all of the above. On the other hand Dermatology Associates of Atlanta advertise “Sclerotherapy and Laser Vein Treatment” and on the website talk about vein removal, however they only offer sclerotherapy and laser spider vein treatment using FDA approved Veinwave™. So they are performing medically covered treatment for veins right? Nope, they are performing a purely cosmetic procedure using pulses of laser light to fade the appearance of very small surface veins, often sign of the medical condition that is lurking below.

So what should the patient or “consumer” do? Should the medical and cosmetic industries get together and provide wording restriction to differentiate the treatments? For the consumer the difference between the cosmetic and medical conditions can be costly both medically and in the wallet. Complicating even this is often medical and surgical offices include laser hair removal and laser (surface) vein treatment to their menu of services! At Southeast Vein and Laser you can have laser vein treatment (medical) and laser vein treatment (cosmetic), I have a headache and I am in the business. I am sure the average 60 year old here’s the word laser and it just goes in one ear and out the other. Sites like RealSelf are great but also add to the confusion. Add Groupon and radio advertisements and we have successfully confused a nation! Please let me know how you feel about this and my other post….

Medical treatment for varicose veins can be performed using endovenous laser or radio-frequency ablation. The laser energy is used to close the vein that is not working correctly. The word endovenous isn’t even recognized by Google so I am sure it doesn’t resonate with the average patient.

Brian has been providing vein and dedicated vascular testing and education for 19 years. He is the Technical Director of Southern Vein Care in Atlanta. You can contact him and follow @vascularcme on Twitter.

Categories: Banter, business, culture, diseases, health, Marketing, medical imaging, medical legal issues, mistakes, Opinion, phlebology, radiology, Social Justice, ultrasound education, varicose veins, vascular surgery, vein disease, venous reflux, women's health

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1 reply

  1. Technology like this always amazes me. Using lasers to help with vein treatments is really interesting. I used to work at a physical therapy clinic in college and we would often use lasers for different things. As long as it works then that’s all that matters, right?