For healthy patients, endovenous laser treatments (EVLT) can be a less invasive treatment for varicose veins that means less downtime. Research has shown that EVLT can be as effective as surgery or vein stripping. EVLT may be a good option for you if you’re searching for a minimally invasive procedure with a short healing time. Read below for more details about EVLT or talk to a doctor.
What is EVLT?
EVLT is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a laser to treat varicose veins. A probe is inserted into the affected vein—in a hole no bigger than one needed for an average IV—and then laser energy is sent along the vein. This heat closes the vein so blood cannot flow through the vein anymore, leading to a “disappearance” of the varicose vein. After the procedure, the blood will re-route to other healthy veins. Those veins will flow more efficiently now that the unhealthy varicose vein has been sealed shut.
How to Prepare for EVLT
You won’t have to alter your routine too much prior to EVLT. You can eat and drink whatever you like. You don’t need anyone to accompany you to the procedure. It is important that you notify the office if you’re currently taking blood thinners, such as aspirin. You may need to stop taking those medicines prior to treatment.
During the EVLT Procedure
You’ll want to use the restroom before the procedure. An ultrasound will be performed on your legs to determine the precise location of the veins. Your veins will then be marked. The area will then be cleaned and sterilized. Local anesthesia will be applied. You might feel a numbing when this happens. Likewise, you also might feel a vibration as the laser fiber is inserted in the vein. After the laser is inserted, additional anesthesia is applied to decrease the risk of infection. This is the longest part of the procedure. Next, the laser will be activated, and the vein will seal shut.
Benefits of EVLT
The procedure takes about one hour and only uses local anesthesia. One of the major benefits of EVLT is that it requires minimal downtime. In most cases, you should be able to walk away and return to your daily life including working and exercising the same day as the procedure. Frequent walks are recommended post-procedure. Success rates are almost as equal as surgery, but the EVLT produce is not as invasive. It’s also very effective.
Recovering from EVLT Surgery
You will probably have to wear bandages and compression stockings to help speed your healing. It’s recommended that you wear the bandage at all times except during sleep and showering while you heal. It’s best to follow your doctor’s personal recommendation for you.
You most likely will bruise for one to three weeks following the procedure. You also may experience some soreness, which can you treat using a painkiller like Tylenol or Advil. The pain should go away after about two weeks and is a sign that the vein is healing properly.
What to Avoid after EVLT
It’s best to not take any long hot baths, avoid weight lifting and strenuous gym workouts. You also should avoid sitting or standing for extended periods of time. If you work at an office, you’ll want to get up and move around periodically throughout the day. You also should not fly on an airplane for four weeks after treatment. Please notify the office if it’s imperative that you fly. The doctor will determine if it’s safe for you to do so.
Follow Up Visit
You generally will need to return for a check up about four weeks after undergoing EVLT to make sure you’re healing properly. Complications that require medical attention are rare.