If you suffer from the pain and swelling of unsightly varicose veins, you’ll find a solution at Emerson Hospital.
Endovenous laser ablation therapy (EVLT) is an innovative treatment that’s proven to be more effective than traditional surgical approaches and much easier on patients. The 40-minute, minimally invasive procedure requires no hospital stay, causes little discomfort, involves minimal recovery time—and provides years of relief.
About varicose veins
Approximately 20% of adults develop varicose veins, which are gnarled, enlarged veins, most commonly in the legs and feet. Symptoms of varicose veins include heaviness and burning or aching in the legs, especially after standing or walking.
The leg veins, which carry blood to the heart, have valves—flap-like tissue that keeps blood moving in the right direction. If a valve begins to leak, blood collects in that vein, which then stretches, producing varicose veins. Left untreated, incompetent veins may cause further circulatory problems or skin ulcers.
Diagnosing varicose veins
The diagnosis of varicose veins and recommendation for EVLT is made after an ultrasound exam
to determine the extent of your varicose veins.
Treating varicose veins with EVLT
Treating the affected vein(s) with EVLT is effective because it addresses the source of the problem: leaky valves within the veins. The procedure causes the affected vein to shrink and close, safely re-routing blood to an adjacent vein. With the vein collapsed, symptoms diminish and appearance improves, leaving only a pinhole-size scar.
What endovenous laser treatment involves
During EVLT, a local anesthetic is applied to the skin at the affected area. Once the area is numb, the physician makes a tiny incision in the skin and, using ultrasound guidance, advances a thin, flexible laser fiber into the vein that has the leaky valve.
The fiber emits laser energy that collapses the walls of the vein.
Once the procedure is complete, you’re sent home wearing a compression stocking on the treated leg(s). Patients experience minimal discomfort, and are encouraged to walk and perform their regular activities after the procedure.
EVLT is a proven, effective treatment for symptomatic varicose veins, and most insurance plans cover the treatment. If you think you are a candidate for EVLT, please talk to your primary care physician about a referral.
Other minimally invasive treatment options for varicose veins
The vascular specialists at Emerson Hospital also perform other types of procedures to treat varicose veins minimally invasively. The techniques they use include radiofrequency (RF) ablation (using heat to close up the affected vein) and sclerotherapy (injection of a special chemical agent to cause the affected vein to collapse).