Do you suffer from painful, unsightly varicose veins? If so, you might be interested in learning more about Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT).
Varicose veins are caused by underlying vein disease, or chronic venous insufficiency. Endovenous Laser Treatment addresses symptoms of vein disease like pain, cramping, swelling, aching, skin discoloration, and even serious venous ulcers. EVLT can also reduce your risk of developing dangerous blood clots, such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
Vein disease occurs when tiny vein valves in your body become strained and begin to malfunction. This makes it challenging for your veins to pump blood back to your heart. The resulting insufficiency leads to blood pooling and veins enlarging, most often in your lower extremities.
Risk factors for vein disease include family history, getting older, being female, pregnancy, and having high blood pressure or diabetes. Spending long periods sitting or standing can also increase your likelihood of developing this potentially dangerous condition.
At USA Vein Clinics, we offer Endovenous Laser Treatment along with a range of other vein treatment options. Here’s what you need to know to determine whether EVLT is right for you.
What Is Endovenous Laser Treatment?
Endovenous Laser Treatment, also known as endovenous laser ablation, is a non-surgical, outpatient laser treatment for varicose veins. It utilizes ultrasound-guided technology to precisely deliver laser energy that targets malfunctioning veins and causes them to collapse. Once closed, the blood flow is naturally redirected to healthier veins.
What to Expect
After numbing your leg with a local anesthesia, the vascular specialist will insert a (less than one millimeter) laser fiber into the diseased veins under real-time ultrasound guidance. This is then followed by an application of laser energy to heat and close the malfunctioning veins, which is called vein closure. Once the diseased veins are closed, healthy veins will then take over the role of circulating blood towards the heart.
Depending on the number of diseased veins, more than one endovenous laser for varicose veins treatment may be required. The EVLT vein treatment is done in our outpatient facilities, and procedures usually take around 15-30 minutes, depending on the number of veins affected.
Benefits of Endovenous Laser Treatment
Treating vein disease with EVLT offers patients numerous benefits, including a success rate of up to 98% percent, NO hospitalization, and a quick recovery with strong patient satisfaction.
Other benefits of endovenous laser therapy include:
- Effective at eliminating painful symptoms
- Return to daily activities immediately after treatment
- Performed in an outpatient clinic
- No scarring or stitches
- Improves overall quality of life
- Decreases your risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
Before the EVLT procedure, many of our patients avoided activities that involved standing for long periods of time. Now, they can stand at work and comfortably enjoy events that require standing.
Is Laser Treatment for Varicose Veins Safe?
Endovenous laser therapy is a minimally-invasive procedure that has been proven safe and effective for treating symptoms of vein disease in the lower legs and ankles. When administered by a skilled vein specialist, laser treatment for varicose veins amounts to a far lower risk of complications compared to surgically stripping the veins. Surgical risks include infection, excessive bleeding, the formation of blood clots, and having an adverse reaction to general anesthesia.
However, there are risks associated with any medical procedure. While serious complications for EVLT are rare and the majority of patients experience no side effects, potential risks include skin burns, discoloration, nerve damage, and blood clotting. Inform your doctor if you’re pregnant, nursing, have any allergies, or are taking any medications. You can reduce your risk of certain complications by following your doctor’s activity, lifestyle, and dietary recommendations before the procedure and during recovery.
What Should I Ask My Vascular Specialist Before Choosing EVLT?
If you want to know more about the ins and outs of an EVLT procedure, consider asking your vein specialists the following questions:
- What results should I expect?
- What are the risks associated with treatment?
- What is the success rate of an EVLT procedure?
- How many treatments do you think I’ll need?
- How should I prepare for an EVLT procedure?
- Is the cost of the treatment covered by insurance?
Endovenous Laser Treatment Recovery
Recovery from an Endovenous Laser Treatment is generally trouble-free. You will be encouraged to walk as much as you can during the first three days after your procedure. This is to boost circulation, prevent blood clot formation, and reduce swelling during recovery. Normal discomfort in your legs may occur as tenderness, tightening, swelling, burning, and redness — but this should only be temporary.
Post-procedure discomfort can usually be managed with an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, but avoid taking aspirin-based products. You also may experience bruising along the course of the treated vein, which typically resolves in one to two weeks. Pink or clear fluid may appear on your bandages during the healing process.
At-Home Care Following Laser Vein Treatment
After Endovenous Laser Treatment, your health care provider may recommend the following ongoing care strategies to ensure a complete recovery:
Compression socks: Talk with your specialists about the safest and most beneficial way for you to use compression socks. Although they can be effective in aiding good circulation, compression stockings can cause irritation and discomfort if not worn properly. Typically, it’s recommended that you wear compression socks for the first 24 hours after Endovenous Laser Treatment. After that, it is usually suggested to wear them during the day, but remove them to sleep. Ask your doctor for what length of time you should use compression socks. Some patients are also advised to wear them as a preventive measure for future vein issues. This is particularly advised during prolonged periods of standing or sitting.
Walking and exercise: You can resume daily activities immediately, but avoid standing for long periods of time, air travel, and strenuous physical exercise for two weeks. Try to walk as much as you can during the first three days after treatment, but avoid going on long hikes. Instead, focus on short, frequent walking sessions. Walking 10 to 15 minutes every hour can promote rapid healing.
Bathing: It’s imperative to care for the catheter insertion site as directed and keep it completely dry for 48 hours. Avoid soaking in bathtubs, hot tubs, and pools for seven to 10 days following the procedure. This can help reduce the risk of infection and keep the veins in your leg from dilating. After your treatment, be sure to wait at least 24 hours before showering.
When Should You Contact The Doctor After Your EVLT?
Our specialists will recommend scheduling a follow-up appointment within a week of EVLT to assess the progress of your treatment. Contact your health care provider immediately if you experience any of the following:
- High fever
- Swelling that gets worse
- Breathing problems, such as shortness of breath or wheezing
- Severe pain that keeps you from completing your daily activities
- Signs of infection in the treated area, such as warmth, bleeding, redness, or fluid discharge
What Is The Difference Between EVLA and EVLT?
The difference between Endovenous Laser Ablation and Endovenous Laser Treatment is minimal. In fact, EVLA is sometimes referred to as EVLT. Both methods use heat energy and are effective outpatient treatments for venous reflux and varicose veins. In both laser vein treatments, a small optic laser fiber is inserted directly into the target vein, and laser energy is delivered to heat and collapse the veins with unhealthy valves. Depending on your venous condition, either EVLA or EVLT may be the optimal treatment.
Why Are Follow-Ups Important After EVLT?
Scheduling recommended follow-up appointments after your procedure is vital to assess the progress of your treatment. During a follow-up appointment, an ultrasound will be performed to check for any problems, such as blood clots. These appointments allow your vein specialist to determine if further treatment is necessary. They are based on your personal venous condition and are intended to ensure successful long-term results.
Is EVLT painful?
There is very little to no pain during an EVLT session, as a local anesthetic is used to numb your leg. The only time you may experience discomfort is when your doctor initially tries to access the target vein, which can feel similar to getting an IV placed.
Who is a good candidate for the procedure?
Most individuals with large, leaky superficial veins of the lower extremities are ideal candidates for EVLT. However, treatment is not appropriate for individuals who are pregnant or have more serious obstructions in their deep venous system.
Should I shave my leg before the EVLT procedure?
No, you should not shave your leg within 72 hours of the procedure, since it can increase the risk of a post-procedure skin infection.
Can I eat prior to the procedure?
Yes, you can eat a light meal and increase your fluid intake with caffeine-free beverages. Drinking an adequate amount of fluids makes it easier for your vascular specialist to access your vein.
Can I return to work after the procedure?
Yes, most patients return to work or other responsibilities right after the procedure.
Can varicose veins come back after EVLT?
EVLT delivers excellent long-term results, so the likelihood of varicose veins returning after treatment is exceptionally low. However, you can continue to monitor your progress and assess new flow patterns in your legs with follow-up appointments.
Endovenous Laser Treatment for Varicose Veins at USA Vein Clinics
Take the first steps toward improving your vein health by scheduling your appointment today. We offer convenient clinic locations nationwide, so there’s sure to be one near you. We also have telemedicine options available if you prefer a virtual doctor visit. You may be relieved to learn that vein treatment, including Endovenous laser therapy, is covered by most major health insurance plans.
If you’re not sure whether EVLT is right for you, we can help. Your vein specialist at USA Vein Clinics will work one-on-one with you to develop an effective vein treatment plan. Although there are no guarantees that your varicose veins won’t return, our patients generally enjoy a better quality of life post-treatment.