Laser Treatment for Varicose Veins
Laser treatment for varicose veins, also called endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) or endovenous laser therapy (EVLT), is a minimally invasive procedure used to correct varicose veins. During an EVLA procedure, a small probe is inserted into the vein that emits laser energy to collapse the vein walls and eliminate the bulging vein.
Laser Treatment for Varicose Veins
- avg. recovery
About the Procedure
Varicose veins are twisting, raised, visible bulges that typically occur on the legs. Varicose veins form when the valves within the veins are unable to properly circulate blood, causing a pooling of blood. While normally just an aesthetic issue, varicose veins can be an indicator of a more serious health problem. Once it is determined that there are no underlying health concerns, a treatment plan can be formed. Laser treatment for varicose veins is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed under local anesthesia, typically in under an hour. Endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) is very similar to radiofrequency occlusion treatment for varicose veins, however, EVLA is more successful in treating larger diameter veins. Once larger varicose veins have been treated with EVLA, smaller spider veins can be eliminated with sclerotherapy for a complete skin tone, texture, and contour improvement. During treatment, the patient will lay comfortably on a table. The end of the varicose vein, closest to the ankle, will be located using ultrasound technology and numbed with a local anesthesia. A needle will be inserted so a catheter can be guided into the vein. No incisions will need to be made. With the catheter is in place, the laser fiber will be guided up through the varicose vein towards the groin area. Once in place, a tumescent fluid comprised of saline, lidocaine, and epinephrine will be injected around the entirety of the varicose vein to protect surrounding tissue from the laser energy as well as improve contact between the vein wall and the probe. At this point, the lights may be dimmed in the procedure room as the laser probe will emit a light visible through the skin, indicating it is on. The probe will be slowly pulled out through the vein, ablating the vein walls, causing them to collapse. This collapsing inhibits blood flow to the vein, making the vein shrink over the course of several weeks. Once treatment is complete, the leg will be wrapped in a compressive dressing to help prevent swelling
The goal of varicose vein treatment is to reduce the appearance of bulging, unsightly, and at times painful varicose veins, typically on the legs.
What to Expect
Laser treatment for varicose veins, also called endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) or endovenous laser therapy (EVLT), is a minimally invasive procedure used to correct varicose veins. Here is a quick guide for what to expect before, during, and after EVLA treatment.
No special measures need to be taken before EVLA treatment.
- Ultrasound used to determine the location of the varicose vein
- Needle inserted to make entryway for laser fiber
- Tumescent fluid injected around the vein
- Vein ablated with laser energy
- Once complete, leg will be wrapped in a compressive dressing
It is common for patients to experience mild bruising and tightness which will fade over 1-3 weeks. Sclerotherapy treatments may be needed for any spider veins and can be done 1 month after EVLA.
The ideal candidate for endovenous laser ablation has large, varicose veins.
Not Recommended For
Endovenous laser ablation is not recommended for patients who have had major surgery or been pregnant in the previous 3 months. Patients with a history of deep vein thrombosis or are non-ambulatory may not be eligible candidates for the procedure.
Side effects of laser treatment for varicose veins may include bruising, pain, and recurrence due to the devices higher likelihood to cause perforations in the vein wall. Other side effects can include swelling and superficial thrombophlebitis, a blood clot in a superficial vein.