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New Laser Treatment Helps Varicose Veins

by Jane Meggitt

Not long ago, if you suffered from varicose veins and conservative treatment – compression stockings, exercise – didn’t help, the alternatives involved some difficulty. There was vein stripping, a surgical procedure performed under anesthesia that generally meant a few days off from work for recovery. Sclerotherapy consists of a chemical injection into the vein causing the damage to its inside lining and resulting in closure. The injections hurt, and a patient may need several sessions for sclerotherapy to work. Now there’s a laser treatment that makes the process of eliminating varicose veins much easier.

Endovenous Laser Ablation

The technical term for laser varicose vein elimination is “endovenous laser ablation,” or EVLA. This laser therapy works by heating the varicose vein, which kills off the vein’s walls. Your body then absorbs the tissue. EVLA therapy is performed in a doctor’s office and requires only a local anesthetic. Most varicose vein sufferers benefit from EVLA.

The Procedure

An ultrasound is performed on the varicose veins, and all veins needing treatment are marked by the doctor with a pen. The area is cleaned, and the patient lies on either his or her back or stomach, depending on the location of the veins. The doctor inserts a small needle into the vein, all guided via ultrasound. Once the needle is inserted, a wire is passed through it and into the vein. The needle is replaced by a catheter which moves up the vein, and once it is inserted, the wire is taken out. Then a laser fiber is sent up the catheter so its end is at the top of the area requiring heat. Once the laser sets to work, it is used on each vein for about five minutes. Patients don’t feel pain, and the entire procedure takes about 20 minutes. Once the catheter is removed, the patient must put on compression stockings.

Recovery

Patients can head home right after treatment. As with any minimally invasive surgery, it is advisable to have another person drive the patient home. Other than wearing compression stockings and keeping the legs dry for about two weeks, there are few restrictions on activities. A health care provider explains the best way to bathe without getting the affected area wet. Any aches from the surgery are controllable by an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen.

EVLA does not completely cause varicose veins to disappear, although it relieves any symptoms such as swelling and pain. Patients who want the veins to completely disappear for cosmetic purposes will have to use older varicose vein treatment methods.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about vein treatment, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!

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