If you are suffering from varicose veins, laser or non-invasive removal treatments are undoubtedly preferable to open surgery. But two thirds of varicose veins are being removed by the NHS with open surgery methods, according to a report from Radiance Health.
Women tend to be more affected with varicose veins than men, particularly after having children.
The treatment options include open surgery under general anaethetic, laser treatments and new treatments such as Clarivein, which works by using a small rotating tip on the end of a catheter placed inside the leaking vein. This treatment is pain-free and there is no recovery time required.
"We treat about 50% of our patients with Clarivein and the other 50% with EVLT lasering," said Mr Eddie Chaloner, a consultant vascular surgeon, who specialises in varicose veins at Radiance Health.
You have to be classified as having 'severe' varicose veins to be treated on the NHS.
The total number of varicose veins cases treated by the NHS has fallen from 45,000 in 2000- 2001 to under 35,000 in 2008-9 and Mr Chaloner believes is likely to fall further as statisticss are released for subsequent years.