Frequently Asked Questions, Endovenous Laser Ablation Treatment (EVLT/EVLA)

What is the purpose of endovenous laser ablation treatment?

EVLT/EVLA treats varicose veins using a focused laser to permanently disable varicose veins. EVLT is the least invasive and most effective treatment available today for varicose veins (also referred to as venous insufficiency, a failure of veins in the legs to fully perform their functions). EVLT is an out-patient procedure, minimally invasive and with only mild discomfort (compared to painful surgery followed by weeks of recovery).

What equipment do you use for treatment?

We use two different lasers for EVLT. Each functions differently, and our choice is based on the depth of the vein to be treated, the results of our ultrasound examination, plus your venous history and anatomy.

We use the Angiodynamics VenaCure™ EVLT™ 1470-nm endovenous laser, the Dormier D940 laser, and the Klein pump to deliver tumescent anesthesia.

Read more here about the laser equipment we use for endovenous laser ablation treatment.

What other treatment options are available?

Prior to the refinement of laser techniques for the treatment of varicose veins, surgical intervention was the norm: ligation and stripping, a lengthy and painful invasive procedure that is performed under general, regional, or local anesthesia, and followed by a long recovery period (typically, you will spend 2 to 3 weeks in a state of complete rest). The rate of recurrence following the surgical procedure is extremely high (29% recurrence following the ligation and stripping of the greater saphenous vein). After a high ligation, in one study, the recurrence rate was 71%. These are typical recurrence rates that can be found in the results of most studies.

The physician performing the ligation and stripping uses a groin incision to gain access to the greater saphenous vein, which s/he then ties and cuts. The physician makes a second incision at the knee to pull the vein out.

How many treatments will I need?

Most often only one treatment is enough to treat varicose veins effectively. The laser treatment is followed by sclerotherapy, and then by follow-up at our office to monitor your progress and healing.

Is the treatment painful?

The quality of our laser equipment, combined with our skill and experience, makes the treatment virtually painless, although you may feel some discomfort, usually during the brief period of the application of the laser and similar to a light stinging or mild pinching. Each of us is different, in terms of sensitivity, and so the experience of discomfort is relative and varies from person to person.

After my treatment, can the varicose veins return?

Using EVLA (endovenous laser ablation therapy), the rate of recurrence is extremely low, below 5 percent, much lower than the recurrence rate following surgical removal of varicose veins (approximately 29 percent).

What is in the solution used during sclerotherapy?

We use Sotradecol (sodium tetradecyl sulfate), a foam solution that has been used for many decades in the treatment of varicose veins.

Is there a way to prevent varicose veins from returning?

To prevent the reoccurrence of varicose veins, we offer a Leg Wellness Program. At 6 and 12 weeks following your treatment, during your follow-up visits, we will explain the wellness program and offer you the option of joining.

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