What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins occur when the veins’ valves get weakened or damaged, which causes them to swell inside. Varicose veins are situated deeper within the legs, unlike spider veins.
Usually, varicose veins form in a patient’s legs, although they may form anywhere in the body. Varicose veins generally appear gnarled, twisted, and rope-like and are typically bluish or purple, making them difficult to hide.
Varicose veins are usually accompanied by pain and discomfort; this is unlike spider veins which do not usually cause any physical symptoms. Some of the symptoms of varicose veins are as follows:
- Tenderness, swelling, and throbbing
- Increase in cramping of the legs
- Burning, tingling, or itching on the skin surrounding the vein
- A feeling of tiredness or heaviness in the legs
- Aching and pain, especially after some physical activity
Certain conditions and circumstances that put a person at a greater risk of developing varicose veins in the future are pregnancy, constipation, being overweight or obese, tumors, genetic predisposition, sedentary lifestyle, and age. As we get older, veins are more likely to become varicose.
What is Endovenous Laser Ablation Therapy (EVLT)?
EVLT is a non-surgical laser treatment for varicose veins that use catheters, lasers, and ultrasound. This procedure is most often done on veins that are still relatively untwisted and straight.
The whole process of Endovenous laser ablation therapy begins when an interventional radiologist inserts a catheter into the varicose vein accumulated with blood. The ultrasound is used to guide the catheter through the vein.
At the end of the catheter, a laser is attached, whose beams will heat the walls of the vein, thereby closing it shut. Hence, the blood stops flowing through the vein. As the body recovers after the procedure, circulation becomes more efficient as the blood is no longer flowing through the faulty vein, thereby shrinking that faulty vein and fading.
There are only a very minimal amount of risks associated with endovenous laser therapy for varicose veins. Post-op recovery is also very short; it is a single-day procedure.
The patients are advised to wear compression bandages to speed up the healing and improve circulation and frequently walk to help redistribute the blood to the healthy veins deep in the legs.
Advantages of Laser Treatment For Varicose Veins
Laser treatment, specifically Endovenous Laser Ablation Therapy or EVLT, is a very advanced surgery for varicose veins. These days, most medical professionals prefer this laser-based treatment method since it is minimally invasive. This method has many advantages; let us look into a few of the benefits that Endovenous Laser Ablation Therapy offers for varicose veins.
● Minimally invasive procedure
One of the significant benefits of this therapy is that there is no need for any cuts or incisions; it is a minimally invasive procedure. The laser beam is directed onto the affected vein to diminish the swelling and inflammation present due to the accumulation of blood in the veins. The use of these high-intensity laser pulses makes laser treatment very effective for the management of varicose veins.
● High success rate
The success rate of endovenous laser ablation therapy is very high (more than 90 %) compared to the conventional treatment methods for varicose veins. This means that the chances of recurrence of varicose veins after laser therapy are significantly less compared to other treatment measures. The laser ablation treatment method offers long-term relief for varicose veins.
● No risks of complications
The chances of bleeding, infections, and blood clots happening when you undergo endovenous laser ablation therapy are very low since there are no big incisions or stitches. On the other hand, in traditional surgery for varicose veins, the chances of these complications happening are very high.
There is very minimal risk associated with laser therapy. After the treatment, there will be minimal pain to deal with directly over the vein, and minimal bruising or bleeding that will go away within a week.
● The short and smooth recovery period
The standard procedure of surgery incisions and stitches, making it very complex. Therefore, it takes a long time to recover from such a complex surgery. Whereas the recovery period after the endovenous laser ablation therapy of varicose veins is very short and smooth, it offers complete recovery in just 2-3 days.
There is minimal bruising to the wounds that will recover within a week. After the EVLT, patients can resume normal activities very quickly. Although medical professionals usually advise the patients to wear compression socks during recovery to help boost circulation.