Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT)
Endovenous Laser Therapy, known as EVLT, is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat unsightly varicose veins. It is an alternative to the painful, lengthy ligation and stripping procedure. EVLT is fast, safe, and effective and provides cosmetic benefits which improve the patient's quality of life. This simple procedure is performed in the doctor's office and takes less than an hour. It is approved by the FDA.
Ligation and stripping was once the primary treatment for varicose veins since it was the only treatment available. While effective, ligation and stripping is an invasive surgical procedure that was performed under general anesthesia and required up to two weeks of recovery time. Many patients experienced pain during and after this procedure since several incisions were involved in the process. EVLT offers patients a highly effective, but much less invasive, alternative.
Benefits of Endovenous Laser Therapy
EVLT is a relatively uncomplicated procedure. Some of the benefits of this therapy include that EVLT:
- Takes less than an hour to perform
- Is an outpatient procedure
- Offers immediate relief from symptoms
- Does not necessitate a long recovery
- Does not require general anesthesia
- Results in no scarring
- Has a success rate of 98 percent
The Endovenous Laser Therapy Procedure
During the EVLT procedure, the doctor first marks the damaged vein and prepares the area with an antiseptic. Once a local anesthetic has been applied to the area to minimize any pain, a laser probe is inserted through a needle inserted into the vein. The physician maneuvers the probe precisely, using ultrasound imaging to identify problems in particular veins and positioning the laser accordingly.
The laser energy is then targeted along the length of the damaged vein, causing its walls to collapse so that blood can no longer flow through. Blood from this vein will be diverted to functional veins. As these healthy veins take over, circulation frequently improves and symptoms are relieved. Once the procedure of endovenous laser therapy is completed, the probe is removed from the vein and a dressing and compression bandages are applied to the area. The entire EVLT procedure takes less than an hour to perform and is a viable option for almost all patients.
Risks of Endovenous Laser Therapy
Although EVLT is considered safe, there are certain risks associated with any surgical procedure. Some of these risks may include:
- Nerve damage
- A drawing sensation
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Failure of the procedure
Recovery from Endovenous Laser Therapy
After the EVLT procedure, most patients experience mild bruising and tightness in the legs, although these side effects usually subside within a few days. Patients can return home immediately and many are able to resume work and other normal activities the very same day. Exercise and heavy lifting should be avoided for some time.
Results from the EVLT procedure are visible immediately. Once the procedure is completed and recovery has taken place, most patients can enjoy pain-free, more attractive legs. As many as 98 percent of patients who have EVLT are satisfied with the results. Because the level of satisfaction is much higher for EVLT is than for comparative procedures, EVLT is quickly becoming the new standard for treating varicose veins.