NICE recommends laser and RF for varicose veins

Radiofrequency and laser treatments could become the treatment of choice for people suffering with varicose veins, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

The independent body that’s responsible for driving improvement in the health system published recommendations yesterday, saying that radiofrequency or laser treatments should be offered as an alternative to surgery.

People with varicose veins that cause them severe pain or ulcers could get these machine-based treatments on the NHS, with NICE saying such therapies would not only be more cost effective for the health service, but would also reduce recovery time for the patient.

Professor Mark Baker, director of the Centre for Clinical Practice at NICE, said, “Although varicose veins are a common health complaint, there was no established framework for diagnosis and treatment in the NHS until now. Some people can suffer painful and distressing symptoms.”

It is estimated than a third of the UK adult population suffers with varicose veins. However some experts are concerned about the ability of the NHS to meet the demand for these treatments that the NICE recommendations are likely to bring. Professor Mark Whiteley, founder of the Whiteley Clinic in London and Guildford and a specialist in varicose vein treatment, said on his blog yesterday, “Clearly there will not be enough money in the system for these people to have treatment.”