Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT) is a minimally invasive procedure used for treating varicose veins without the need of surgery.
Patient satisfaction after treatment with laser is very high. The procedure is better and superior to conventional surgery. Prominent vascular literature shows over 95% success rate after varicose vein closure with Endovenous Laser Treatment.
Why is Endovenous Laser Treatment better then surgery?
Benefits of EVLT:
- Office based procedure
- Lower recurrence rate
- Significantly lower complications rate
- No recovery/disability period
- Much less painful
- Minimal or no scarring
- No need for general anesthesia
Who is the candidate for Endovenous Laser Treatment?
Anyone with visible varicose veins should be evaluated by a vascular specialist.
Majority of patients do not have visible varicosities but are still affected by vein insufficiency. Symptoms of heavy legs, restless legs, painful legs, discolored legs, ulcers, cramping legs, swollen legs, should warrant a consultation with a vein professional.
Physician, who specializes in vein care, will be able to perform needed tests and determine the problem along with recommended treatment plan during the very first visit. Medical history of each patient will be discussed as laser treatment may be contraindicated in some conditions.
Varicose veins are not just a problem of unsightly veins. Tortuous, thickened, inflamed veins compromise blood flow and promote serious, sometimes fatal, complications.
How is Endovenous Laser Treatment done?
- It is an office procedure.
- An ultrasound may be performed to mark areas planned for treatment before the procedure.
- Patient rests comfortably on the table.
- Treated leg is cleansed with a disinfectant soap and draped with sterile sheets.
- Small area is numbed and a tiny incision is made in the skin.
- A catheter bearing a laser fiber is inserted in the diseased vein under ultrasound guidance.
- Dilute local anesthetic is injected around and along the treated vein.
- The laser is activated and withdrawn very slowly causing thermal damage and closure of the diseases vein.
- Edges of previously made small incision are subsequently approximated with surgical strips (no stiches).
- Compression stocking are applied and patient rests a few minutes.
- Patient returns to normal activities immediately after procedure.
How should I prepare for the laser treatment?
- Have a light meal.
- Take all your medications as recommended by your doctor.
- Wear comfortable clothing.
- Bring your compression stockings.
What is the after care?
Compression stocking or socks are applied immediately after laser treatment. Patients should keep them on during the first night after procedure and then wear them daily for the next seven days. The compression has been proven to markedly diminish possible side effects.
Walking is encouraged.
Activities to avoid for at least 48 hours after treatment:
- Hot baths
- Hot compresses
- Direct exposure to sunlight
- Saunas, hot tubs, whirlpools
Strenuous exercise may exacerbate discomfort and should be increased as tolerated.
An ultrasound examination is performed to asses for treated vein closure and possible complications 5-7 days after EVLT.
What are the risks associated with Endovenous Laser Treatment?
EVLT is considered a safe procedure. The risks are very minimal especially if the procedure is done by a specialist.
- Bruising, bleeding, infection at the puncture site
- Insufficient vein closure requiring additional treatment
- Inflammation in the vein – phlebitis
- Blood clots (as per literature risk of 0.3%)
- Nerve injury with most frequent occurrence of temporary numbness to small area of the skin
- Damage to adjacent tissues
Will insurance pay for EVLT?
Endovenous Laser Treatment is a well-recognized and majority of health insurance plans provide benefits for the procedure.
The Institute for Vein Health will discuss the necessity of EVLT with your health insurance carrier on your behalf.