Louisiana Heart & Vascular Institute Vein Care Centers

Varicose veins are not only a cosmetic concern but can also cause discomfort and lead to more serious health complications if left untreated. Traditional surgical methods for treating varicose veins have been largely replaced by less invasive techniques, one of the most effective being Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT). This modern treatment has transformed the approach to venous disease, offering a minimally invasive solution with excellent results and minimal downtime.

What is Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT)?

EVLT is a cutting-edge procedure that uses targeted laser energy to close off varicose veins. The treatment involves the insertion of a small optic fiber into the diseased vein, usually through a needle puncture in the skin. Laser energy is then applied to the inside of the vein, causing it to collapse and seal shut. Over time, the body naturally redirects blood flow to healthy veins, and the treated vein is reabsorbed.

The EVLT Procedure

The EVLT procedure typically takes less than an hour and is performed under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis. The process includes the following steps:

  • Ultrasound imaging is used to map out the vein to be treated.
  • The skin over the vein is numbed with local anesthesia.
  • A thin laser fiber is inserted into the vein through a tiny entry point.
  • Laser energy is delivered to heat and close the vein.
  • The fiber is removed, and a bandage is applied to the entry site.

Advantages of EVLT

EVLT offers numerous benefits over traditional vein stripping surgeries:

  • Minimally Invasive: Unlike vein stripping, EVLT does not require large incisions, which means less pain and scarring.
  • Efficiency: The procedure is quick, with most treatments completed in under an hour.
  • Rapid Recovery: Patients can walk immediately after the procedure and typically return to normal activities the same day.
  • High Success Rate: EVLT has a success rate of over 90%, with many patients experiencing immediate relief from symptoms.
  • Cosmetic Results: Most patients notice a significant improvement in the appearance of their legs following the procedure.

Recovery and Aftercare

Post-procedure care is straightforward. Patients are encouraged to walk and stay active to promote good circulation but should avoid strenuous activities for a short period as advised by their doctor. Compression stockings are often recommended for a week or two to support the healing process.

Potential Risks and Considerations

As with any medical procedure, there are potential risks associated with EVLT, though they are rare. These can include bruising, infection at the puncture site, temporary numbness, or, very rarely, deep vein thrombosis (DVT). It is essential to choose a reputable vein clinic with experienced physicians to minimize these risks.

Endovenous Laser Therapy represents a significant advancement in the treatment of varicose veins, offering an effective, less invasive alternative to traditional surgery. For those suffering from the pain and unsightliness of varicose veins, EVLT provides a safe, fast, and successful solution. If you’re considering treatment for varicose veins, consult with a vein specialist to discuss if EVLT is the right option for you. With EVLT, you can expect to see not only an improvement in symptoms but also the return of confidence in the appearance of your legs.

Further Reading:

Johns Hopkins: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/endovenous-laser-varicose-vein-surgery