Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT)
Endovenous laser therapy is a quick, minimally invasive alternative to traditional vein stripping. It is a varicose vein treatment that leaves only one small scar about ¼ of an inch or less at the insertion site. It is performed under local anesthesia with or without sedation here in our office. It also features a short, relatively pain free recovery time. Prior to treatment a physical examination is done by your surgeon and an ultrasound study of the veins in your leg(s) will be ordered and scheduled at a later date. Based on the examination and the ultrasound results, your surgeon may recommend that you have the EVLT procedure. Although published reports and clinical experience to date show this to be effective with less complication than other procedures, the long term closure rate of the saphenous vein is not known. The closure rates for one year or less are above 95%. There are no contraindications for the EVLT of the saphenous vein.
What Are The Benefits Of The EVLT Procedure?
There are many benefits to endovenous laser therapy as a varicose vein treatment:
- Performed under local anesthetic, with or without oral sedation, in the office
- No IV, hospital stay, or recovery room time
- Minimally invasive so very small risk of infection, blood loss, noticeable scars, or other significant problems
- Less than 1 hour treatment time
- Rapid recovery
- Normal daily activities are encouraged immediately after having EVLT
- You can return to work without using valuable paid time off for most occupations
- Excellent clinical and aesthetic results
- Minimal pain compared to the outdated and more invasive treatments
- More cost effective than traditional treatments
Frequently Asked EVLT Questions:
What Are The Risks Of The EVLT Procedure?
There are potential risks with any medical procedure. Only minimal complications have been experienced with the endovenous laser procedure, but there are potential risks with any medical procedure. Potential risks include: vessel perforation, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, phlebitis, hematoma, infection, scarring, nerve injury, parasthesia, skin burns, post phlebitic syndrome resulting in permanent swelling of the leg, severe allergic reaction, and the remote possibility of death.
What Happens During The EVLT Procedure?
The endovenous laser therapy treatment itself usually takes about an hour. First, with the patients consent, photographs of the veins in the leg are taken for insurance, education, and marketing purposes. The area to be treated is then marked using ultrasound and anesthetized using a local anesthetic. The leg is washed with a solution to kill any germs on the skin, and sterile drapes are applied. Ultrasound is used throughout the procedure to locate the vein to be treated and to assure proper placement of the laser fiber at all times. The laser fiber is placed through a very small incision about one quarter of an inch long near the inside of the knee. The tissue around the vein is then injected with a solution that both numbs and protects the surrounding tissues from the heat of the laser. The surgeon slowly pulls the fiber backwards through the vein while the laser energy is applied in short pulses. This causes the vein to shrink, collapse, and seal shut. Once it is sealed, the healthy veins take over and redirect blood flow back to the heart. A small adhesive strip is placed over the tiny incision to keep it closed as it heals. No stitches are needed. Absorbent pads are then placed over the injection sites as well as the incision to absorb any of the injected fluid that may drain out when you are moving about. A compression hose is placed over this and the procedure is done.
Is Endovenous Laser Therapy Covered By My Insurance?
Insurance coverage for the procedure is determined on a case-by-case basis. In most cases, insurance companies decide whether or not to cover treatment based on medical necessity. If you have concerns regarding coverage for this procedure we recommend you call your insurance company to discuss their criteria for coverage as every company is slightly different. You should also ask about coverage for compression hose that will be required after the procedure.
How Successful Is EVLT?
Early results of EVLT as a varicose vein treatment have been extremely favorable. Success rates have been as high as those for the conventional surgical approach which is considered the “gold standard” treatment. EVLT generally treats most varicose veins successfully, but additional therapy is needed in some cases.