Varicose Vein Laser Treatment
The discomfort of varicose veins, as well as possible embarrassment over the way they look, can impact a sufferer’s lifestyle in many ways. Social occasions may feel like a challenge, summer days are uncomfortable for those who feel they need to cover their legs, and income can be adversely affected if workdays are lost through pain and immobility. With modern technology and surgical expertise, relief from all this suffering is possible through varicose vein laser treatment.
Varicose veins appear on the legs when the small valves in the veins that carry blood to the heart stop working. As blood pools behind dysfunctional valves, pressure builds up, causing the vein to weaken and bulge.
Unlike traditional surgical methods to remove varicose veins, laser ablation is relatively non-invasive. It’s a quick, effective, long lasting treatment that doesn’t require a general anesthesia, so patients recover much faster than after surgical procedures such as ligation and stripping.
When compared to traditional surgical procedures, the advantages of Varicose Vein Laser Treatment are immediately apparent.
How Laser Ablation Works
Throughout the procedure, which is also known as endovenous laser therapy, patients are awake and alert.
- Local anesthetic, similar to the one your dentist may use, is applied to the area around the vein where surgeons will work.
- A small incision is made through which the surgeon inserts a very fine catheter into the vein being treated. The catheter is less than one millimeter, and slips gently along the length of the diseased vein.
- Segments of the vein are precisely heated, which causes damage to the vein and stops it working. The vein walls collapse preventing further blood flow
- The catheter is removed from the vein once the affected area is treated, and healing begins immediately.
Precision is achieved through ultrasound viewing throughout the procedure, so surgeons are always able to see exactly which portion of the vein is being treated.
The body is incredibly versatile, rapidly finding ways to compensate for areas of damage. In the case of varicose vein laser treatment, blood is immediately rerouted to healthy veins, so there is no interruption to blood flow.
Over time, the treated vein that is no longer working is absorbed into the body, and healthy veins take over transporting blood to the heart. Depending on the number of varicose veins a patient has, they may need more than one procedure, and we’ll discuss this with you during consultation with a vein specialist.
Advantages of Varicose Vein Laser Treatment
Most people suffering from chronic venous insufficiency (another name for varicose veins) are suitable to receive endovenous laser therapy, regardless of age or gender. When compared to traditional surgical procedures, the advantages are immediately apparent:
- Short recovery times. Because laser ablation is a minimally invasive procedure, there is no general anesthetic to get over.
- Faster healing. Most patients experience full recovery within days, but can move around immediately following treatment. You may be advised to avoid strenuous activity or exercise (no heavy lifting, for instance), but gentle exercise is usually beneficial.
- There is comparatively little post-procedure bruising, swelling or discomfort. You may have some tenderness, but this should soon resolve.
- The procedure is usually performed in an outpatient setting.
Two Types of Vein Ablation Therapy
Sometimes referred to as endothermal ablation, surgeons can close off malfunctioning veins in two ways. From the patient’s perspective and experience, the procedures are very similar. Your vein specialist will discuss the options with you, helping you reach an informed decision on your personal best treatment.
- Radiofrequency ablation uses radio waves to heat the inside of the vein.
- Endovenous laser ablation uses a laser to create heat.
Both methods have the same result: damaging the vein so that it collapses, closes, and stops working. It sounds drastic, but since the vein isn’t functioning properly anyway, healthy blood flow is once more achieved when blood is routed through healthy veins.
Both corrective venous procedures allow patients to be out of bed immediately. They cause minimal disruption to normal daily routines, and give renewed confidence in the appearance of their legs.