Not only are varicose veins unattractive, but they can also cause discomfort or pain and may even progress to more serious conditions over time. Some of these conditions include blood clots, inflammation, bleeding and skin ulcers.
Endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) explained
EVLT is a minimally invasive procedure that treats varicose veins at their root source. Laser energy is delivered to a varicose vein via a thin laser fiber that is placed through a tiny incision near the site. The laser shrinks and closes the vein walls, sealing the faulty vein shut. Soon after EVLT treatment, the veins in your legs (or other treated areas) should look and feel significantly better.
How varicose veins happen
When veins work efficiently, the valves in them prevent blood from pooling in our legs as it flows back and forth from the heart. If the valves in the veins stop functioning properly, blood can pool in the leg veins, causing them to enlarge and bulge under the skin with the extra blood. This malfunction in the larger veins can cause smaller veins near the surface of the skin to dilate and appear as small red or bluish webs. These smaller, superficial veins are called spider veins and may indicate that there are varicose veins deeper down. If there are symptoms such as aching pain, burning, itching or heaviness in the legs, this is a further indication of the presence of varicose veins. Once treated, these symptoms should subside, and the veins will appear so much better that you should also feel more confident about showing your legs!
What about blood flow?
When a varicose vein is treated with EVLT, blood can no longer flow through it. Many patients ask if this will cause additional circulation problems, but this is not the case. After EVLT treatment, blood that flowed through the faulty vein will be diverted to the normal, more robust veins in the leg. The EVLT treatment has a very high success rate with good long-term results.
What to expect with EVLT
Most EVLT treatments are performed in a clinic office setting using only local anesthetic. This outpatient treatment typically takes 45 minutes to an hour and patients are encouraged to walk immediately after treatment. This can help to alleviate any symptoms.
The majority of patients experience minimal post-treatment pain and the recovery period is very short. Minor soreness (along with some bruising) is typical and can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers. EVLT leaves no visible scars and there are no significant risks. A small number of patients experience numbness in the treated area.