Chronic venous disorders in the lower part of the body are common problems caused as a result of reflux in one or more of the saphenous veins, or venous hypertension. The treatment methods of these venous disorders range from conservative management of venous problems to eliminating the incompetent pathways of the veins using endovenous techniques or surgery.

What is Endovenous Laser Ablation of Varicose Veins?

Endovenous laser ablation is a procedure of treating varicose veins using heat from a laser. When a person suffers from this problem, the veins of the thighs and the calves become swollen and bulge out. The condition is more than just an eyesore and makes life and living uncomfortable. This treatment uses laser energy to burn (cauterize) and close varicose veins. The treatment is also known by several proprietary names like ELVes, EVLT, EVinSeal, etc.

What happens during Endovenous Laser Ablation?

Endovenous laser ablation is an image-guided, minimally invasive treatment that uses radiofrequency or laser energy to close the abnormal veins that lead to varicose veins. The treatment is a daycare process and is performed in the doctor’s clinic on an outpatient basis. Before the treatment begins, the doctor cleans and sterilizes the area  that needs to be treated.  The doctor may use an imaging device or ultrasound to visualize the damaged veins in detail. An electrode or fiber is moved to the desired location in the vein by making a very tiny incision. 

The treatment is done under the influence of local anesthesia and hence the patient feels no pain. Once anesthesia is injected into the tissues, it allows the veins to collapse. The energy sent from the laser heats the blood vessel and causes the vein to get closed. Once the treatment is over, the damaged vein will scar and shrink down.  (Also read: Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins)

How to prepare for Endovenous Laser Ablation?

The treatment does not require any special preparation. But, you should tell the doctor about the medications that you are taking, including herbal supplements, if any. If you are allergic to anesthesia, tell the doctor about that too. Your doctor may recommend you to stop taking anti-inflammatory drugs, blood thinners or aspirin before the treatment.

You should wear loose and comfortable clothing on the day of the imaging test. You will also need to remove all kinds of jewelry from the body when you step in for the imaging examination. 

On the day of the treatment, you may ask someone to accompany you to drive you home after the procedure.

Experience during Endovenous Laser Ablation

Once the treatment begins, you will be asked to wear laser-protective glasses. The doctor will clean and numb the area that needs to be treated. You may feel slight pricks on the skin when the local anesthesia is injected. Shortly after that, the area will become numb. 

You may feel slight pressure in between the treatment but there won’t be any serious discomfort. 

The most uncomfortable part of the treatment is when local anesthetic is injected around the vein. This part of the treatment might require multiple injections. The part where the vein is closed by the laser energy is not painful. However, on rare occasions, people report experiencing a burning smell during the closure of the vein.

Once the treatment is over, you will be asked to wear a gradient compression stocking. Doing so reduces the tenderness and bruising of the treated area and minimizes the chances of forming a blood clot of the skin.

There’s no long downtime and patients can resume their normal routine right after the treatment. However, there are some exceptions such as refraining from prolonged sitting, spending too long in bed or air travel. Staying active is the key to quick recovery; being idle may increase the chances of complications. 

Endovenous Laser Ablation – Benefits & Risks

In recent times, endovenous laser ablation has become a highly sought after treatment for problems like varicose veins for the following benefits:

  • It is a non-surgical process. Only a small nick is made in the skin to insert the laser energy that requires no stitches.
  • The ablation is much more effective than any traditional method of vein stripping.
  • The treatment has very few complications and the recovery is much quicker and smoother.
  • The ablation is generally free of complications.
  • No scars are visible on the skin after the treatment as no large incisions are made.
  • The ablation method is less invasive than any surgical process.
  • Patients can return to normal life in a short while after the treatment.

But, like any other treatment methods, the endovenous laser ablation also has certain drawbacks:

  • There is a chance of the skin contaminating infection. However, the chances are very dim and in case it happens, the infection can be treated easily with antibiotics.
  • The treatment requires inserting a catheter inside a blood vessel. This may at times damage the blood vessels, leave bruises and cause the treatment site to bleed.
  • Some patients have reported damage to the nerves from the heat during the treatment. The damage, however, is not long-term.
  • In some occasions where an active lifestyle is not maintained after the treatment, blood clots can be formed.

Endovenous Laser Ablation – Note from Pristyn Care Vascular Surgeon

Endovenous laser ablation is done to treat veins that turn varicose. The process is effective for people working on all grounds. We recommend the treatment for superficial veins such as small saphenous and accessory saphenous veins. The treatment is easy, but it is also important for the person to maintain an active lifestyle after the treatment. 

Ablation is successful most of the time, but if the veins are dilated, it might require additional treatment. The best treatment method and the process can only be suggested after a thorough diagnosis. 

Pristyn Care Provides Varicose-Veins Treatment in:
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