Laser Vein Therapy – Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLT)
At Dallas Vein Specialists vein disorders are treated using minimally invasive treatments such as microphlebectomy, foam sclerotherapy, and removal of certain poorly functioning veins by laser removal (endovenous laser ablation). Every patient is different, and each has findings that require specific treatment for relief of symptoms and correction of vein problems. A single treatment or a combination of the minimally invasive approaches may be necessary.
Failing or poorly functioning valves within the veins of the leg lead to abnormal blood flow patterns and the pooling of blood in the leg. This results in increased pressure in these veins when standing or sitting, so-called venous hypertension. This venous hypertension over time leads directly to the development of varicose veins, and if left untreated, may over time cause irreparable damage to the skin and underlying tissues of the leg.
Some veins causing venous hypertension lend themselves to treatment by application of a laser. In past times such veins that course along part or the entire length of the leg were removed surgically by “vein stripping” operations. These procedures required general or spinal anesthesia and were traumatic leaving the patient with extensive bruising, collections of blood in the tissues (hematomas), bleeding, surgical scars, and long recovery periods. Hospital stays were not unusual. Patients had limiting pain and soreness afterwards and frequently had complications including infections, development of clots in the deep veins of the leg, and superficial nerve injury resulting in permanent numbness.
How Does Laser Vein Treatment Work?
With the minimally invasive laser treatment, the vein is not removed but irreversibly damaged by the heat of the laser. This is accomplished by insertion of the laser fiber into the vein through a needle puncture site on the leg. Ultrasound images allow the surgeon to find the vein within the leg and maneuver the laser along the course of the vein to the desired location. There the laser is activated and slowly pulled back along the inside of the vein. Blood flow within the vein is immediately stopped, and thus the venous hypertension is eliminated. Over the ensuing months, the laser treated vein is removed by the body. Blood flow is redirected to normally functioning veins that return the blood from the legs to the central circulation where it is channeled through the heart and to the lungs. There it is replenished with oxygen and pumped from the heart to the body.
The advantages of this minimally invasive laser vein treatment procedure include minimal postoperative pain and discomfort. Patients treated at Dallas Vein Specialistsregularly return to usual activities including work on the day following the procedure. In addition since no incisions are made and only needle punctures are involved, there are no scars or hematomas. Bruising is usually minimal. The risks for permanent numbness or clots developing in the deep veins of the leg are small. Local anesthesia is entirely adequate for the procedure, which is done in an outpatient or office setting.
In summary, laser vein treatment, a minimally invasive procedure for some leg veins causing blood pooling and increased pressure in the veins, has produced excellent short and long-term results. Patient satisfaction at Dallas Vein Specialists and other vein treatment centers has been high. Patients return to usual activities quickly and have a low incidence of limiting symptoms and complications.