What is Endovenous Laser Ablation?

Endovenous laser ablation is an in-office, minimally-invasive procedure that treats chronic venous insufficiency, the root cause of spider veins, varicose veins, and most other vein problems. The procedure involves channeling laser energy into the diseased vein via a catheter inserted through a small incision on the skin’s surface. Sending laser energy into the diseased vein induces an inflammatory response to make it collapse, rerouting the accumulated blood into healthier leg veins.

EVLT vs. Vascular Surgery

Endovenous laser ablation was first developed and approved in 2003 as a minimally invasive alternative to traditional varicose vein surgeries, such as vein ligation, venous bypass surgery, and vein stripping. Varicose vein surgeries involve hospitalization, multiple excisions, and an extended recovery period of one to two weeks. Furthermore, surgeries also carry a relatively high risk of infections and deep vein thrombosis, i.e., blood clots in leg veins.

Endovenous laser ablation is performed via one small incision on the skin’s surface. There’s no need for general anesthesia because most patients only need local anesthesia with mild sedation. The procedure concludes within an hour, following which patients can immediately resume their daily activities and work. As such, there’s no downtime either, and the risk of complications is negligible. Furthermore, EVLT also minimizes the risk of vein disease recurrence, making it superior to vascular surgery on all fronts.

The EVLT Procedure Overview

During the EVLT procedure, you’ll have to lie down on an operating table while the medical team cleanses your targeted leg. You should ideally appear for the procedure completely hydrated, and you should avoid caffeine on the day of the procedure. The vein doctor will numb a small area on your skin and insert a hollow catheter with a laser fiber.

The hollow needle hooked to the laser fiber is driven into the diseased saphenous vein. The vein doctor also administers tumescent anesthesia to protect the surrounding tissues from laser damage. Finally, the laser fiber is activated to generate laser energy, which destroys the diseased saphenous vein. The accumulated blood reroutes into healthier leg veins, restoring optimal blood circulation to the heart.

What would happen if I let my varicose veins go untreated, or if I seek treatment from an unreputable clinic? Highly trained varicose vein doctors in NYC talk about five risks of not seeking treatment for varicose veins or getting treated in the wrong place.

The Pros & Cons of EVLT

Pros of EVLT:

  • No unsightly scarring and marks
  • The ability to resume daily activities immediately
  • Concludes within an hour
  • No risk of skin discoloration
  • Only mild to moderate discomfort

Cons of EVLT:

  • Performed with needles
  • Causes more post-treatment discomfort than RFA
  • Must avoid strenuous activities for a week

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