Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT) for Varicose Veins

General Information | Scheduling, Insurance and Preparation | What to Expect | Photos


General information General Information

About Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT)

Endovenous laser therapy (EVLT) is a safe and simple varicose vein treatment. The laser treats the varicose veins without the need for surgery.

Varicose veins are not just a cosmetic problem. They can cause discomfort and pose significant health threats. Treatment can eliminate aching, throbbing, cramping, swelling and heaviness in the legs. Itching and restless leg syndrome are often caused by abnormal veins as well. In more serious cases, non-healing ulcers and recurring leg infections can often be healed after vein treatment.

With EVLT, the leg is numbed and a small incision is made. A guiding sheath is placed in the saphenous vein from the calf to the thigh. A laser is extended through the sheath so the tip of the laser extends just past the sheath. Numbing fluid is placed around the vein and then the laser is activated. The laser is slowly pulled through the vein. As it is pulled, heat is applied to the vein wall causing the vein to permanently close and disappear. The body will re-route blood to healthier veins. No other tissue in the leg is affected.

Patient satisfaction with endovenous laser therapy is high. A prominent study published in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology showed better than a 93% success rate after two years. These results are better than surgical methods for treating varicose veins.

After having endovenous laser therapy, you may still have varicose veins but they will be smaller. Laser does not treat the surface tiny spider veins. However, sclerotherapy can be used to treat these.

Endovenous Laser Therapy versus Surgery

Not everyone is a candidate for endovenous laser therapy. People who are candidates may choose it over a surgical varicose vein treatment for the following reasons:

  • Lower recurrence
  • Much lower complication rate
  • No recovery period
  • Less painful
  • Minimal or no scarring
  • general anesthesia

Risks Involved in Endovenous Laser Therapy

Endovenous laser therapy is a very safe procedure. Potential but rare side effects include:

  • Damage to a blood vessel
  • Bruising, bleeding, or infection at the puncture site
  • Temporary numbness in the legs
  • Blood clot or inflammation in the vein
  • Insufficient closure of the varicose vein, requiring an additional treatment
  • Growth of new veins

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Scheduling, Insurance and Preparation Scheduling, Insurance and Preparation

Procedure Locations

Consultations and the endovenous laser therapy procedure are done at RIA Endovascular in Greenwood Village.

Call 720-493-3406 to schedule a consultation.

Scheduling

To schedule a consultation to discuss EVLT, call 720-493-3406.

Insurance Coverage

Endovenous laser therapy is usually covered by insurance. Check with your insurance company to be sure. Please bring your insurance card with you to your consultation and exam.

Conditions to Let Us Know About

In advance of your exam, let your radiologist or nurse know if any of the following circumstances apply to you:

  • History of deep vein blood clots or a clotting disorder
  • Taking blood thinners such as Coumadin or Lovenox
  • Diagnosed with a hole in the heart (patent foramen ovale or atrial septal defect

Preparation Guidelines

Following are the preparation guidelines for endovenous laser therapy. You may receive additional or differing guidelines based on your specific situation. Please contact us at 720-493-3406 if you have any questions.

  • Have a light meal before arriving for the procedure.
  • Bring compression (medical) stockings and shorts with you.
  • If valium was prescribed, bring it with you.
  • If valium was prescribed, arrange for someone to drive you home from the procedure.

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What to Expect What to Expect

Before the Procedure

Prior to the date of the procedure, you will undergo a noninvasive vascular assessment (NIVA) to the interventional radiologist can identify the source of the varicose veins and plan treatment. You will fill out paperwork and consent forms so the radiologist will know your medical history.

During the Procedure

With endovenous laser therapy, a laser is threaded through a tiny incision and through the full length of the varicose vein.

Here is generally what will happen during endovenous laser therapy:

  1. A nurse will take your blood pressure and temperature.
  2. You will change into the shorts that you brought with you.
  3. The radiologist will answer your questions. He or she may take photos of your legs to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment.
  4. You will put on goggles to protect your eyes from accidental exposure to the laser light during the procedure.
  5. The access site for the procedure will be cleansed and anesthetized.
  6. The radiologist will make a small incision.
  7. Using ultrasound guidance, the radiologist will carefully guide a catheter through the incision and into the vein.
  8. After the catheter is in place, the laser will be advanced into the vein.
  9. Local anesthetic will be applied along the length of the vein to make the procedure virtually painless.
  10. The laser will be activated and slowly removed, closing the vein as it is withdrawn.
  11. The incision will be cleaned and taped.
  12. You will put on the compression stockings and change back into your normal clothes.

After the Procedure

Recovery

Although there is no recovery for the EVLT varicose vein treatment, you will need to wear compression stockings and avoid high-impact aerobics for two weeks.

You will need to wear the compression stockings for two weeks. You must also avoid high impact aerobics for 2 weeks after the procedure.

Some people experience bruising, tenderness or swelling after the procedure. These side effects can be reduced or prevented by wearing the compression stockings as directed.

Follow-Up

You will have a follow-up visit approximately a week after your session. The radiologist will perform an ultrasound to ensure the varicose vein has been completely closed and no blood clots have developed. He or she may take photos of your legs again to keep in your file.

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EVLT Before & After Photos Before & After Photos

Following are before and after photos of patients who had endovenous laser therapy.

Leg with varicose veins before EVLT procedure Leg with varicose veins after EVLT procedure
Before Treatment After Treatment
   
Leg with varicose veins before EVLT procedure Leg with varicose veins after EVLT procedure
Before Treatment After Treatment
   
Leg with varicose veins before EVLT procedure Leg with varicose veins after EVLT procedure
Before Treatment After Treatment
   
Legs with varicose veins before EVLT procedure Legs with varicose veins after EVLT procedure
Before Treatment After Treatment
   
Leg with varicose veins before EVLT procedure Leg with varicose veins after EVLT procedure
Before Treatment After Treatment (1 year)
   

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