Laser Treatment for Varicose Veins (EVLT)
Laser treatment for varicose veins is a method of treating varicose veins without conventional surgery. The whole procedure takes less than 1 hour to perform and allows patients to return to their normal routine within 24 to 48 hours. In around 98% of cases this technique is successful in obliterating the vein by the end of the procedure.
Endovenous Laser Treatment Can Be Used For
Laser Treatment of varicose veins can be for the following reasons:
- Treat complications, skin discolouration, swelling, and leg swelling
- Ease symptoms if varicose veins are causing you discomfort or pain
- Cosmetic Reasons.
Benefits of Laser Treatment
Three main benefits of laser treatment for varicose veins:
- After the treatment, less bruising
- Spend less time in hospital
- Return to your normal daily routines quickly.
Laser Treatment Procedure
The consultant begins by using a portable ultrasound to mark the end of the vein in the groin as well the most appropriate position to make an incision. The consultant will consequently make a small incision at the lower end. A thin tube (catheter) into the main superficial vein on the inside of the thigh through a small skin incision over the inside of the knee. The procedure is performed with the patient awake and a local anaesthetic is used to numb the leg. The catheter is passed up the vein to the point of connection with the deep vein at the groin.
Ultrasound scanning is used to accurately position the tip of the catheter where the fibreoptic laser probe is sited. Activating the laser results in a heating effect inside the vein causing it to seal up. This usually causes varicose veins lower down in the leg to shrink and disappear over time in most patients. Foam sclerotherapy treatment can be used after 4 weeks in cases with residual calf veins. The whole procedure takes less than 1 hour to perform and allows patients to return to their normal routine within 24 to 48 hours. In around 98 % of cases this technique is successful in obliterating the vein by the end of the procedure.
Immediately after the procedure, you can feel tightness in all the affected areas, especially in your legs, and all of them may be bruised and painful. This is normal and temporary.
Who Can Undergo Laser Treatment?
Almost anyone with varicose veins is suitable for laser treatment. However, there are those who are not suitable. Patients with small recurrent veins after a previous surgery do not qualify for this treatment. These can be managed with foam scerotherapy.
What Happens After the Procedure?
The whole procedure takes less than 1 hour to perform and allows patients to return to their normal routine within 24 to 48 hours. During your recovery period, there are a few things that you cannot do. You may be able to go home a few hours after the treatment. But don’t drive during this period until you get back to your normal condition. When you are from the hospital, take public transport, have someone drive you, or walk. It will take you a few of days before you are able to drive again.
Following the treatment, continue to wear the stockings for between five and ten days. You will get instructions on how to bathe. Don’t swim or get your legs wet. Normal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen will help relieve any pain.
Complications that patients do experience after laser treatment for varicose veins, are uncommon. Reported complications after this procedure are rare (less than 1%). The following are possible complications:
Thrombophlebitis: Laser treatment works by heating the walls of the veins, and an inevitable response to the heat is an inflammation of the walls. The vein that has been heated can become hard and tender and also some blood clots can form within the varicose veins that feed from the treated veins and make them hard and lumpy. The clot poses no danger, and your body will be able to absorb it over a few weeks.
Burns: While there is a possibility of burning the skin with the laser, it is the very rare in practice.
Nerve Damage: Nerves can lie alongside veins that are being treated, and if this happens, the heat or avulsions may damage them. The small patches usually resolve over a few months.
DVT: This abbreviation “DVT” refers to a blood clot in the deep veins. While the risk of getting it after laser treatment for varicose veins is very low but has been reported.
Treatment in Cheshire
Endovenous Laser Treatment with Mr Dimitri MB BCH, MSc, FRCS is available at various Healthcare Commission recognised facilities covering Cheshire, Chester, North Wales, Manchester, Stockport, Warrington, Wirral and Liverpool.
Your initial consultation will involve a clinical examination in addition to an ultrasound scan to identify the type of varicose veins present and guide the decision regarding the optimum treatment strategy.