Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT)
Endovenous laser therapy is a quick, minimally invasive alternative to traditional vein stripping. It leaves no scarring and is performed under local anesthesia in a doctor’s office. It also features a short, relatively pain-free recovery time. Prior to treatment, a physical examination using an ultrasound machine is completed to map out the vein to be treated.
The treatment itself takes less than an hour. First, the area to be treated is numbed with a local anesthetic. Then, a thin laser fiber is inserted into the vein using a special tube called a sheath. Once the fiber is positioned properly, laser energy is applied as the physician slowly pulls the fiber through the length of the vein. Delivered in short pulses, the laser energy heats the vein from within, causing it to shrink, collapse and seal shut. Once it’s sealed, healthy veins take over and redirect bloodflow back toward the heart.
Walking immediately after the procedure is encouraged, and you can return to normal daily activity right away. However, strenuous physical activity should be avoided for 3 to 4 weeks. You may experience some bruising or soreness for 7 to 10 days. Walking or taking over-the-counter pain relievers helps relieve any remaining discomfort.
There are many benefits to endovenous laser therapy for varicose veins, including:
* A simple procedure
* Performed under local anesthetic
* Minimally invasive, so minimal risk of scarring and postoperative infection
* Less than 1-hour examination and treatment time
* Rapid recovery with little pain after the procedure
* Normal activities can be resumed immediately
* Excellent clinical and aesthetic results
After endovenous laser therapy, you’ll need to wear compression stockings. You should walk immediately after the procedure. Returning to normal daily activity is also encouraged. Though heavy lifting, pushing or pulling should be avoided, walking or walking on a treadmill is encouraged.
You may have some bruising and soreness for 7 to 10 days after the procedure. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, is suggested and will reduce the pain and bruising.
Clinical results that document the success of endovenous laser treatment for varicose veins have been published. Still, as with any medical treatment, endovenous laser therapy has certain risks that your physician will explain in terms of how they apply to your individual case. Endovenous laser therapy successfully treats the cause of most varicose veins, venous reflux. But keep in mind that additional therapy is needed in some cases. Dr. Roberts will provide follow-up for further evaluation and treatment of varicose and spider veins.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does the procedure actually work?
The laser energy heats the vein walls, which damages them and makes them shrink. This causes the faulty vein to collapse and stops blood from flowing through it. This is no reason for concern, however, because your body automatically uses the healthy veins remaining in your legs to return blood to the heart.
What are the potential complications of the procedure?
There are potential complications with any medical procedure. But only minimal complications have been experienced with the endovenous laser procedure. Potential complications include: vessel perforation, thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, phlebitis, hematoma, infection, paresthesia (numbness or tingling) and skin burns.
Am I at risk of being harmed by the laser?
No. You will be given a pair of special glasses to wear to protect your eyes. This is just a precaution against accidental firing of laser energy outside the body.
Is endovenous laser therapy covered by my insurance?
Most likely. Insurance coverage for the procedure is determined on a case-by-case basis. In most cases, insurance companies decide whether or not to cover treatment based on medical necessity. We recommend that you discuss your insurance coverage with the staff at the time of your initial consultation.
How successful is endovenous laser therapy?
Early results have been extremely favorable. In fact, success rates have been as high or higher as those for the conventional surgical approach, which was accepted as the ”gold standard” treatment. Endovenous laser therapy generally treats most varicose veins successfully, but additional therapy is needed in some cases.
Before & After