If you are dealing with varicose veins that do not improve with conservative therapy, you may be discouraged. Varicose veins can be uncomfortable, unsightly and even downright painful. When compression stockings are not providing enough relief for your chronic vein disease, you may want to consider a procedure known as endovenous laser ablation treatment (EVLT).
During the EVLT procedure, the provider inserts a small laser fiber into the problem vein and then directs laser heat through the fiber, specifically targeting areas with a high concentration of water.
Your vein is full of blood, and blood is mostly water, which ensures that only the vein—and not the surrounding tissue—receives the laser’s effect. The heat of the laser causes the vein wall to heat up, leading to its eventual collapse. When the problematic vein closes, it shrinks. Blood is then redirected to other blood vessels in your body and your symptoms improve.
What are the advantages of endovenous laser ablation (EVLT) over surgical vein removal?
Earlier people had to undergo vein stripping who wanted treatment for venous insufficiency . The procedure had some significant drawbacks that caused people to look for successful alternatives. Now, people are choosing endovenous laser ablation
to treat vein problems. Take a closer look at why patients primarily choose EVLT to treat venous insufficiency.
EVLT is minimally invasive
Surgical stripping is a serious and invasive procedure where the surgeon actually removes the problematic veins. Because it is a major surgery, it takes longer to recover from vein removal surgery. You will be dealing with surgical incisions and bandages and will likely be out of work for over a week. Returning to normal activity and work will certainly take longer and may sometimes require physical therapy. There will be an increased risk of infection, bleeding, and numbness, which will take longer to heal and recover from.
EVLT is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that makes it much easier for patients. Your vein expert uses ultrasound to locate the problem vein. He then uses a laser fiber to heat the vein from the inside and close it. This procedure only requires a small injection site and you can go home immediately after the procedure. You will wear prescribed compression stockings and take a few short walks each day for one week. Most people can resume work and normal activities the same day or the next day. Pulling, tightness, focal tenderness and swelling may occur during the first week. These feelings are usually relieved with ibuprofen or Tylenol. Most patients will notice treatment benefits within the first few weeks after treatment
Quick and easy treatment
Each endovenous laser ablation usually takes no more than one hour. This procedure is so simple and minimally invasive that patients do not need to be given any anesthesia before treatment.
Patients can return to their daily activities the same day or the day after endovenous laser ablation. While patients must walk regularly after treatment to promote healthy blood flow to the legs, most do not experience any pain or discomfort following the procedure.
Candidates for vein ablation will have large varicose veins that cause symptoms that interfere with their daily life. Additionally, people who have an incompetent saphenous vein are also ideal candidates for this treatment. The saphenous vein is the largest vein in the body that runs from the leg to the femoral vein in the thigh. This vein is similar to the appendix in that if it is not functioning properly, the body does not need it.
Those with symptomatic varicose veins may experience burning, cramping, swelling and itching around the veins in the lower extremities. They may also have a painful or throbbing sensation in their legs or a feeling that their legs are heavy. In terms of appearance, varicose veins are often dark blue or purple and may bulge or look like thick ropes just under the skin. In the most severe cases, the veins may also bleed.
Definitely consider EVLT if you are considering varicose vein treatment. Talk to your doctor to learn more about what treatment options are available and which one is right for you.