What is endovenous laser ablation?
EVLA is a quick, minimally invasive laser treatment and does not require hospitalization or complicated surgery. EVLA is an FDA-approved procedure in which a small optic fiber is inserted through a needle into the varicose vein, which heats and closes the vein. The entire procedure takes about one hour and causes minimal discomfort. Performed under ultrasound guidance, EVLA uses laser energy to treat varicose veins by closing off the vein, preventing it from flowing in the wrong direction down the leg. Your body then naturally uses a multitude of other healthy veins to return blood to the heart.
Is loss of this vein a problem?
No. There are many veins in the leg and, after treatment, the blood in the faulty veins will be diverted to normal veins with functional valves. The resulting increase in circulation will significantly relieve symptoms and improve appearance.
What are the side effects and complications of varicose vein treatment with endovenous laser ablation?
Endovenous laser ablation, like all minimally invasive procedures, can potentially have some slight bruising, which commonly disappears within the first few weeks. You will feel a delayed tightness (or "pulling" sensation) 4-7 days after laser treatment, which is normal and expected following a successful treatment. All surgical procedures involve some element of risk and have the potential for complications. This should be balanced against the risk of complications if your varicose veins remain untreated. Consult your physician for further information.
Am I at risk from the laser?
You will be given a pair of special glasses to wear to protect your eyes, however this is just a precaution against accidental firing of laser energy outside the body.
How much does laser varicose vein treatment cost?
Endovenous laser ablation, when medically necessary (e.g., for relief of symptoms), is commonly reimbursed by most carriers (including Medicare), limiting the cost to the patient. Contact your specific insurer for details.
Do varicose veins affect men, as well as women?
Varicose veins affect an estimated 40 percent of women and 25 percent of men. Hormonal conditions such as pregnancy and menopause that are unique to women often increase the severity of their conditions.
Is it okay to postpone treatment?
As bad as they may look and feel, varicose veins and spider veins are not usually considered a serious medical problem. However, varicose veins may indicate a critical blockage in deeper veins, a condition called deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, that can be life threatening.
A DVT is a blood clot, or thrombus, which typically forms in the calf veins of the leg, but can also develop in the deep veins of the thigh. A deep venous thrombosis is much more serious than a superficial venous thrombosis. Superficial clots (near the surface of your skin) are easier to detect; however, deep vein clots are surrounded by muscle and harder to detect. In addition, these deep clots are more likely to break free (embolize) and travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolism), which can be fatal. DVT's form because of slow or sluggish blood flow through a deep vein, blood that clots too quickly, or irritation or inflammation of the inner lining of the vein. Consequently, proper medical evaluation and treatment of varicose veins is important. Chronic venous insufficiency is a progressive disease, so symptoms will worsen if left untreated.