What is the difference between endovenous laser ablation and radiofrequency ablation? Which is best?

Answers from doctors (18)


Vein Center of Orange County

Published on Mar 12, 2013

Either laser or radiofrequency may be used for vein ablation. Both sources offer similar efficacy.

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Answered by Vein Center of Orange County

Either laser or radiofrequency may be used for vein ablation. Both sources offer similar efficacy.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Cosmetic Vein Centers of Texas

Published on Feb 28, 2013

Endovenous laser ablation and radiofrequency ablation are different techniques, but they produce similar results.

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Answered by Cosmetic Vein Centers of Texas

Endovenous laser ablation and radiofrequency ablation are different techniques, but they produce similar results.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Vein Specialties of St. Louis

Published on Feb 28, 2013

This is a preference of the surgeon performing the procedure. Endovenous laser ablation is by far the most popular, but recent studies show the outcomes of both procedures are very similar. Though different wavelengths in laser, both modalities have few post-treatment symptoms and leave little to no bruising.

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Answered by Vein Specialties of St. Louis

This is a preference of the surgeon performing the procedure. Endovenous laser ablation is by far the most popular, but recent studies show the outcomes of both procedures are very similar. Though different wavelengths in laser, both modalities have few post-treatment symptoms and leave little to no bruising.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Arizona Vein Specialists

Published on Feb 27, 2013

The techniques are similar, but each uses different energy sources. I prefer laser at 1470 wavelength because I believe it is more effective and causes less pain, less recurrence and fewer side effects.

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Answered by Arizona Vein Specialists

The techniques are similar, but each uses different energy sources. I prefer laser at 1470 wavelength because I believe it is more effective and causes less pain, less recurrence and fewer side effects.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Advanced Vein Center

Published on Feb 27, 2013

The procedures are very similar, except one uses radiofrequency waves and the other uses laser energy to close veins. Each method works well in trained hands.

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Answered by Advanced Vein Center

The procedures are very similar, except one uses radiofrequency waves and the other uses laser energy to close veins. Each method works well in trained hands.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Endovenous laser ablation and radiofrequency ablation use different sources of heat. Both are effective, but experience is the key to optimal results. I'd defer to the physician who will be treating you.


Answered by Advanced Vein & Laser Centre, Ltd. (View Profile)

Endovenous laser ablation and radiofrequency ablation use different sources of heat. Both are effective, but experience is the key to optimal results. I'd defer to the physician who will be treating you.


Published on Jul 11, 2012


Vein 911

Published on Feb 27, 2013

Laser and radiofrequency (RF) are referred to as thermal ablation (heat destruction). Both use heat to destroy the vein wall and eliminate varicose veins. Which is best is slightly controversial among physicians. Most would say whichever one they use is best! However, they are similarly effective. Small differences may include post-procedure pain, duration of the procedure and long-term effectiveness, but most studies show both treatments are very similar when compared head-to-head. There are many nuances to both laser and RF that doctors spend time talking about, but at the end of the day whichever modality the doctor is most experienced with is going to be best. Personally, I only use laser and obviously I feel it is best.

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Answered by Vein 911

Laser and radiofrequency (RF) are referred to as thermal ablation (heat destruction). Both use heat to destroy the vein wall and eliminate varicose veins. Which is best is slightly controversial among physicians. Most would say whichever one they use is best! However, they are similarly effective. Small differences may include post-procedure pain, duration of the procedure and long-term effectiveness, but most studies show both treatments are very similar when compared head-to-head. There are many nuances to both laser and RF that doctors spend time talking about, but at the end of the day whichever modality the doctor is most experienced with is going to be best. Personally, I only use laser and obviously I feel it is best.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


The only difference is how the energy is generated and applied. The bottom line: When energy is applied to the vein wall, the vein is no longer suitable for transporting blood and shuts down. It does not matter which procedure you choose because they are equally effective.

Answered by Columbia Doctors Interventional Radiology (View Profile)

The only difference is how the energy is generated and applied. The bottom line: When energy is applied to the vein wall, the vein is no longer suitable for transporting blood and shuts down. It does not matter which procedure you choose because they are equally effective.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


More About Doctor Laser Vein Center

Published on Jun 05, 2011

Both are techniques to seal a "leaky" or poorly functioning vein, usually the saphenous vein in the leg. These veins are usually the source of varicose veins lower down in the leg.
They both work well with similar results and risks. Some studies have shown a lesser degree of bruising and slightly less post op pain with the radiofrequency technique compared to the older lasers, however the device is more expensive than a laser fiber.

Answered by Laser Vein Center (View Profile)

Both are techniques to seal a "leaky" or poorly functioning vein, usually the saphenous vein in the leg. These veins are usually the source of varicose veins lower down in the leg.
They both work well with similar results and risks. Some studies have shown a lesser degree of bruising and slightly less post op pain with the radiofrequency technique compared to the older lasers, however the device is more expensive than a laser fiber.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


North Shore Vein Center

Published on Feb 17, 2011

In good hands, both are fairly similar. What are more important are the hands that are guiding it.

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Answered by North Shore Vein Center

In good hands, both are fairly similar. What are more important are the hands that are guiding it.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Miller Vein

Published on Feb 08, 2011

Both work very well and are extremely effective. Laser utilizes very focused light to generate heat, while radiofrequency uses electrical energy to heat affected veins thus closing them shut.

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Answered by Miller Vein

Both work very well and are extremely effective. Laser utilizes very focused light to generate heat, while radiofrequency uses electrical energy to heat affected veins thus closing them shut.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Angelo N. Makris MD

Published on Dec 14, 2010

They are different sources of energy that generate heat to ablate veins. They both have the same results, although radiofrequency tends to have less post-operative pain and bruising compared to laser.

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Answered by Angelo N. Makris MD

They are different sources of energy that generate heat to ablate veins. They both have the same results, although radiofrequency tends to have less post-operative pain and bruising compared to laser.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


General Vascular Surgery Group

Published on Dec 13, 2010

Both are techniques to seal a "leaky" or poorly functioning vein, usually the saphenous vein in the leg. These veins are usually the source of varicose veins lower down in the leg.
They both work well with similar results and risks. Some studies have shown a lesser degree of bruising and slightly less post op pain with the radiofrequency technique, however the device is more expensive than a laser fiber.
Michael D. Ingegno, MD

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Answered by General Vascular Surgery Group

Both are techniques to seal a "leaky" or poorly functioning vein, usually the saphenous vein in the leg. These veins are usually the source of varicose veins lower down in the leg.
They both work well with similar results and risks. Some studies have shown a lesser degree of bruising and slightly less post op pain with the radiofrequency technique, however the device is more expensive than a laser fiber.
Michael D. Ingegno, MD

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Bella MD Laser Vein and Aesthetic Center

Published on Dec 10, 2010

Both heat the vein to cause it to close. One is laser the other is radio frequency. Both very similar in effectiveness and safety. Laser a bit better for larger veins but a bit more discomfort in recovery.
David A. Engleman M.D.

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Answered by Bella MD Laser Vein and Aesthetic Center

Both heat the vein to cause it to close. One is laser the other is radio frequency. Both very similar in effectiveness and safety. Laser a bit better for larger veins but a bit more discomfort in recovery.
David A. Engleman M.D.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Vanish Vein and Laser Center

Published on Dec 10, 2010

Laser ablation utilizes a laser catheter to seal or close the leaking valves in the vein being treated. Radiofrequency also closes the vein but uses radio frequency energy delivered through a catheter. Both procedures accomplish closing of the vein. Some say that there is less initial discomfort from the radiofreuency but i have not found this to be true. I prefer laser ablation. In addition, the new lasers in the 1470 wavelength, are also reporting less post op discomfort.

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Answered by Vanish Vein and Laser Center

Laser ablation utilizes a laser catheter to seal or close the leaking valves in the vein being treated. Radiofrequency also closes the vein but uses radio frequency energy delivered through a catheter. Both procedures accomplish closing of the vein. Some say that there is less initial discomfort from the radiofreuency but i have not found this to be true. I prefer laser ablation. In addition, the new lasers in the 1470 wavelength, are also reporting less post op discomfort.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Aesthetic & Vein Center MD

Published on Dec 10, 2010

Hello-
Laser Ablation obviously uses a laser and Radiofrequency uses a catheter. Both achieve the same results. Generally, smaller people are candidates for Radiofrequency. A doctor would have to decide based on your veins.
Stephannie Ford

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Answered by Aesthetic & Vein Center MD

Hello-
Laser Ablation obviously uses a laser and Radiofrequency uses a catheter. Both achieve the same results. Generally, smaller people are candidates for Radiofrequency. A doctor would have to decide based on your veins.
Stephannie Ford

Published on Jul 11, 2012


More About Doctor Innovative Vein

Published on Dec 10, 2010

In reality there is virtually no difference between the procedures. They
deliver energy to the vein differently, but the end result is ablation of the
diseased vein. They are virtually identical regarding post-procedural pain as
well.

Answered by Innovative Vein (View Profile)

In reality there is virtually no difference between the procedures. They
deliver energy to the vein differently, but the end result is ablation of the
diseased vein. They are virtually identical regarding post-procedural pain as
well.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Heart and Vein Center

Published on Dec 10, 2010

Laser Ablation and Radiofrequency ablation are quite similar techniques. The principle is the same in that they provide very high temperature delivered inside the vein to seal-off that vein. They are both highly efficient and effective to accomplish the job. One study demostrated a 98% success rate for laser and 96% for radiofrequency. Another study demonstrated that the post procedure pain is slightly less for radiofrequency compared to laser ablation.
The radiofrequency catheter is larger than the laser and might be difficult to use if the veins are small or have spasm.
From the patient's standpoint the procedure is identical. Requires same preparation, access is similar, use of anesthesia, post-procedure care, etc.

Dr Farhy

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Answered by Heart and Vein Center

Laser Ablation and Radiofrequency ablation are quite similar techniques. The principle is the same in that they provide very high temperature delivered inside the vein to seal-off that vein. They are both highly efficient and effective to accomplish the job. One study demostrated a 98% success rate for laser and 96% for radiofrequency. Another study demonstrated that the post procedure pain is slightly less for radiofrequency compared to laser ablation.
The radiofrequency catheter is larger than the laser and might be difficult to use if the veins are small or have spasm.
From the patient's standpoint the procedure is identical. Requires same preparation, access is similar, use of anesthesia, post-procedure care, etc.

Dr Farhy

Published on Jul 11, 2012


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