Endovenous Laser Ablation and Varicose Veins

Updated on: August 18, 2014

Varicose veins are a nuisance for patients in Fort Collins, Colorado and in other parts of the country. Not only do they lead to embarrassment for many patients, those suffering from varicose veins may complain of pain and heaviness, making treatment very important to many. There are several minimally-invasive treatment options available including endovenous laser ablation to help patients find relief from this condition in a safe, effective manner. This procedure utilizes laser energy to heat and collapse problem veins to eliminate the unsightly varicose veins.

This procedure has several benefits which patients should discuss with a vein specialist in the Fort Collins area. This procedure provides patients with a reduced change of developing stasis ulcers, as well as relief from aches, heaviness and pain associated with varicose veins. What's more, endovenous laser ablation may help to achieve more efficient blood circulation and an improved self-confidence that comes from eliminating these unsightly veins. Finally, endovenous laser ablation is minimally-invasive and takes about half an hour to an hour to perform.

The patient is provided with protective eye goggles to prevent damage in case of exposure to the laser light. The treatment area is first anesthetized using a topical anesthetic and a laser fiber is inserted into the problem vein. Ultrasound technology is used to verify the position of the laser fiber. Next, the laser fiber is heated using low energy, damaging the vein and causing it to shrink, collapse and eventually close completely. The vein will become fibrosed and unable to carry blood, as other veins in the area take over blood flow.

Following the procedure, a small dressing is applied and a compression bandage is worn for about a week. Patients are typically discharged in about an hour and allowed to return home. There are no scars left behind and the treatment is associated with just minimal postoperative pain. Bruising or soreness may be treated using over-the-counter pain medication, although patients are encouraged to consult a medical professional before taking any medication whether prescription or over-the-counter. Following treatment, patients should walk and resume normal activities.

Possible risks associated with endovenous laser ablation may include mild numbness around the thigh, a pulling sensation, phlebitis, deep venous thrombosis, infection and other complications associated with incorrect application or mistakes made during the procedure. For this reason, it is important that individuals choose to receive treatment from a trained, talented vein specialist in the Fort Collins area. One common question associated with endovenous laser ablation is whether removing the greater saphenous vein is harmful. A greater saphenous vein that is healthy should not be removed in case it is needed in future open heart surgeries, but a greater saphenous vein that is thick and thrombosed may actually be a detriment to blood flow and its removal may improve circulation.

This procedure may be covered by insurance if it is used to treat a patient experiencing symptoms deemed medically concerning. Insurance carriers, however, may require that the patient first try more conservative approaches to treating symptoms of varicose veins such as wearing compression stockings and taking pain medication. If these approaches to treatment are not successful, insurance may cover the cost of treatment. For more information and to determine if the procedure will be covered, patients should discuss the matter with a vein specialist and their insurance company.

Learn more about endovenous laser ablation in Fort Collins, Colorado.

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