Laser treatment – or endovenous laser therapy (EVLT) – is a nonsurgical treatment for varicose veins, spider veins, and other venous disease.
This in-office, minimally invasive procedure uses electromagnetic laser light radiation to heat the problematic vein, causing it to scar, seal off, and eventually be resorbed by the body. Once blood is no longer able to pool in the vein, a patient’s varicose vein symptoms disappear.
How Laser Treatment Works
EVLT takes place in our office and the entire procedure typically lasts less than one hour. Local anesthesia is used to numb an area on the leg where the incision will be made. An ultrasound machine is used to locate the target vein and guide the surgeon throughout the procedure.
Once the precise vein is identified, an incision is made, and a tiny flexible tube called a catheter is advanced through the vein. The catheter is then removed, and the laser is slowly moved through the vein, emitting electromagnetic radiation that damages the lining of the vein, causing it to scar. After the laser is removed, a bandage will be placed over the incision site and the procedure is complete.
How Many Treatments Are Needed?
Most often, a single laser treatment is all that is necessary to treat varicose veins. A single EVLT treatment can sufficiently shrink the vein and relieve your varicose vein symptoms. For those who wish to eliminate all visual trace of the vein, additional treatments or procedures may be necessary to improve their cosmetic appeal.
Any invasive procedure comes with risks. Laser treatment for varicose veins may cause complications such as bleeding, infection, discoloration of the skin, vein swelling, and blood clots. There may be some discomfort, reported as a burning sensation, during and after the procedure from the use of heat to destroy venous tissue. Based on your personal medical history and the medications you currently take, there may be additional risks associated with this treatment.
Our instructions and tips for post-treatment care after EVLT include the following:
- Bruising usually occurs on the legs and this is normal. Bruises should go away on their own within a few weeks.
- Walking is critical during your recovery. You should walk as soon as possible after EVLT for at least 30 minutes. Walking should be done at least three times daily for at least 10 minutes during the first couple of weeks after EVLT.
- Wear compression stockings to prevent swelling.
- Apply ice to swelling the first several days to one week after the procedure. Be sure not to leave ice in place longer than 15 minutes at a time.
- Elevate your feet while in bed or when sitting.
- Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time. Stretch, walk, and elevate your legs.
- Avoid hot tubs, saunas, and hot baths, as excess heat can dilate the blood vessels.
Is Laser Vein Treatment Right for You?
In many cases, symptoms of varicose veins, such as, swelling, heaviness, and painful throbbing, ultimately stop responding to conservative treatment methods, such as the use of compression stockings, elevating the feet, and more. If this is the case, endovascular laser therapy (EVLT) may be the treatment you’ve been looking for to rid yourself of your varicose veins, once and for all.
Board-certified vascular surgeon Dr. Edward G. Mackay was the first to introduce the laser treatment for varicose veins in the Tampa Bay area in 2001.
Call Edward G. Mackay and Associates, LLC in Palm Harbor, St. Petersburg, and Largo, Florida, at (727) 781-5652 to find out if laser varicose vein treatment is right for you. You can also request an appointment now.