Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT)
Endovenous Laser Therapy, simply known as EVLT, is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat unsightly varicose veins as an alternative to the painful, lengthy ligation and stripping procedure. EVLT is fast, safe, and effective and allows patients to proudly show off their beautiful legs again, as well as improve their overall quality of life. This simple procedure is performed in the doctor’s office and takes less than an hour.
Ligation and stripping was once considered the primary treatment for varicose veins, as it had been used as the only treatment available to effectively treat the condition for many years. Although effective, ligation and stripping was considered an invasive surgical procedure that was performed under general anesthesia and required up to two weeks of recovery time before patients could return to work. Many patients also experienced pain and discomfort during and after this procedure, as it involves grasping the damaged vein through several incisions and then removing it.
The Benefits of EVLT
EVLT offers patients a less invasive alternative to ligation and stripping with the same effectiveness and many more advantages. Some of the benefits of the EVLT procedure include:
- Takes less than an hour to perform
- Performed as an outpatient procedure in the doctor’s office
- Offers immediate relief from symptoms
- No downtime
- No need for general anesthesia
- No scarring
- Up to a 98% success rate
During the EVLT procedure, your doctor will identify the damaged vein and prepare the leg area with an anti-septic ointment. A small amount of local anesthetic is applied to the area to minimize any pain. A laser probe is inserted through a needle that is placed in the vein. The doctor maneuvers the probe by using ultrasound imaging that precisely identifies your vein problems and verifies accurate positioning of the laser.
The laser energy is then fired inside and along the length of the targeted vein, damaging the vein walls and shrinking it closed so that blood can no longer flow through. The blood in this vein will be diverted to normal, functional veins and often increases circulation, further relieving symptoms. The probe is then removed from the vein and a small dressing and compression bandages are applied to the area. The entire EVLT procedure takes less than an hour to perform.
Recovery and Results
After the EVLT procedure, most patients experience mild bruising and tightness in the legs, although these side effects usually subside within a few days. Patients can return home immediately and many are able to resume work and other normal activities the very same day. Exercise and heavy lifting should be avoided for some time.
The results from the EVLT procedure are visible immediately. Patients can enjoy beautiful, pain-free legs as they leave their doctor’s office.
Up to 98% of patients are satisfied with the results of the ELVT procedure for up to 5 years after.
These statistics are much higher than the satisfaction for alternative procedures, as EVLT is quickly on its way to becoming the new standard for treating varicose veins.
Although EVLT is considered safe, there are certain risks associated with any surgical procedure. Some of these risks may include numbness, pulling sensation, phlebitis, deep venous thrombosis, infection and failure of the procedure. Your doctor will discuss these risks with you before performing the procedure.
The EVLT procedure can be performed on nearly any patient suffering from bulging and painful varicose veins. Patients can experience relief from these symptoms and from the unsightly appearance of the veins through this minimally invasive procedure. EVLT is covered by most insurance companies.