Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT)

EVLT® uses targeted laser energy to close the vein shut and helps in making you look and feel better fast. The benefits of the procedure are relief from heaviness in the legs, in addition to an overall wellness of being. You will have the confidence to show off your legs, regardless of the weather or season.

The EVLT® procedure is a minimally invasive laser procedure in treating varicose veins without scarring. The laser energy minimizes the vein walls, shrinking them and closing the faulty vein so that the blood cannot flow through it. This eliminates the bulging of the vein at its source. After the treatment, the blood in the faulty veins will be diverted to the many normal veins in the leg. The procedure takes about 45 minutes with local anesthetic and is done on an outpatient procedure basis.

Less than 1 percent of patients develop deep vein thrombosis (DVT) from the laser ablation. Numbness has been known to occur in a small number of cases and on rare occasions can be permanent.

1. What long term consequences are associated with varicose veins?

Eczema, pigmentation on the area, ulceration, intermittent bleeding.

2. Is loss of a vein a problem?

No. After treatment, the blood in the faulty veins will be diverted to the many normal veins in the leg.

3. What are the main benefits of EVLT® compared to other conservative management methods?

EVLT® aids with the problem rather than stagnating progression. There are no unpleasant compression stockings to be worn after the first week.

4. What are the main benefits of EVLT® compared to surgical vein stripping?

Minimal trauma to the leg and fewer side effects, there are no operative scars, general anesthesia, no hospital stay, and a much quicker recovery with less post treatment discomfort.

5. What are the main benefits of EVLT® compared to alternative minimally invasive treatments?

There may be a minor skin discoloration that will be gone after four weeks.

6. What does EVLT® stand for?6. What does EVLT® stand for?

EndoVenous Laser Treatment

7. How does the procedure actually work?

A laser fiber is fired inside and along the length of your faulty, varicose vein. The laser energy damages the vein walls, shrinking them closed so that blood can no longer flow through.

8. Is loss of this vein a problem?

No. There are many veins in the leg and after treatment the blood in the faulty veins will be diverted to normal veins with functional valves. The resulting increase in circulation will significantly relieve symptoms and improve appearance.

9. What are the side-effects and complications of this procedure?

EVLT®, like all minimally invasive procedures, can potentially have some slight bruising, which commonly disappears within the first few weeks. With EVLT®, you will feel a delayed tightness (or “pulling” sensation) 4-7 days after laser treatment which is normal and expected following a successful treatment. All surgical procedures involve some element of risk and have the potential for complications. This should be balanced against the risk of complications if your varicose veins remain untreated. Consult your physician for further information.

10. Am I at risk from the laser?

You will be given a pair of special glasses to wear to protect your eyes, however this is just a precaution against accidental firing of laser energy outside the body.

11. What are the alternatives to this treatment?

Surgery (called ‘Ligation & Stripping’) is the traditional treatment, but it can be quite painful and often has a long recovery time. It is performed in a hospital, involves general anesthesia, leaves a scar, and has a fairly high recurrence rate (on average 10-25%). Other alternatives include ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy (injection therapy) and radio frequency electrosurgery. Injection therapy for the saphenous vein has a high recurrence rate frequently requiring retreatment and is generally limited to smaller varicose and spider veins. Radiofrequency electrosurgery is more limited in the range of patients it can treat and the treatment time is longer than EVLT®.

12. How successful is EVLT®?

Clinical data with up to 5 years of follow-up show success rates of 93-98%. This is much higher than surgical ligation and stripping, radiofrequency electrosurgery, and injection sclerotherapy. Market researchers predict that, based on its superior efficacy and lower morbidity, endovenous laser treatment will soon become the new ‘gold standard’.

13. How much does it cost?

EVLT®, when medically necessary (e.g., for relief of symptoms), is commonly reimbursed by most carriers (including Medicare), limiting the cost to the patient. Contact your specific insurer for details.

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