Though, conservative management with compression therapy may improve symptoms of varicose veins, minimally invasive treatment is the best way to eliminate venous incompetence. Endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) is one form of minimally invasive ablation therapies available in the management of varicose veins.
Varicose Veins Symptoms
Varicose veins are a cosmetic concern for some, but for others can cause significant lower extremity pain and swelling, disrupting sleep and quality of life. Compression hosiery helps improve venous circulation, reducing swelling in the feet and legs, but does not treat the root of the cause.
If you are experiencing the following symptoms, talk to your doctor:
Aching, throbbing leg pain
Swelling in your feet and legs
How do Varicose Veins Form?
Veins have one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing backward to your feet, moving blood back up towards your heart. When damage occurs to the valve, blood leaks back into the vessel and pools, making the veins bigger. Over time, the veins enlarge and dilate to compensate for increased volume, causing tension to rise within the veins. Venous insufficiency and hypertension cause chronic damage to the venous circuit, leading to a sequela of skin conditions.
EVLT Eliminates Venous Incompetence
The goal of EVLT is to deliver enough thermal energy to the wall of a varicose vein to cause irreversible occlusion, ultimately scarring the vessel wall and forcing closure. The thought process is: if you scar the vessel wall and cause irreversible occlusion, you thereby eliminate venous incompetence. Though, sometimes a second procedure, such as Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy, may possibly be required to treat veins in the deep venous system. Ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy is another form of ablation, but rather than employ thermal energy, your doctor uses an irritating chemical agent instead.
Benefits of EVLT
Minimally invasive procedures, like EVLT and Radiofrequency ablation, share benefits, namely: no surgical incision! There are inherent risks that exist with any surgery, such as infection, blood clots, and even stroke. If you could treat your varicose veins without going under, why not? This is the belief behind minimally invasive procedures, like EVLT.
Here are some other benefits of endovenous ablation:
Quick recovery time
Takes less than an hour
Performed in your doctor’s office
Does not require general anesthesia
No visible scars
Possible Complications of EVLT:
Even when treatment is a technical success, complications can happen. Though, it’s important to mention: severe complications with EVLT are rare. Expect some bruising and tenderness over the treated vein, but pain unrelieved by Ibuprofen or Tylenol and redness is not okay! Never hesitate to call your doctor! They are there to answer your questions and ease your concerns.
Deep venous thrombosis, or a blood clot
Infection of the puncture site
Paresthesia, or a tingling sensation
Dysesthesia, or an abnormal sense of touch
EVLT Treats Varicose Veins
EVLT is one form of ablation therapy generally performed at your doctor’s office with local anesthesia, requiring minimal to no sedation. Recovery time is short and typically patients recover within under an hour, returning to their normal activities. Previously, the only treatment option available to those suffering from varicose veins was Phlebectomy. This is a major type of surgery, an invasive procedure, that involves making an incision and stripping your vein. Some patients may require a Phlebectomy, even after receiving ablation therapies, like EVLT. Typically, these patients have advanced stages of chronic venous insufficiency and surgery may possibly be their only option.
Find a Vein Specialist Near You
Phlebologists are doctors that specialize in treating venous and lymphatic disorders, using up-to-date techniques in their field. If you have varicose veins and are experiencing lower extremity pain or swelling, ask your doctor for a referral to see a Phlebologist. Or, conduct a search here to find a Vein Specialist near you.