Approximately 20% of adults suffer from varicose veins at some point in their life. Endovenous Laser Ablation Therapy, commonly known as EVLT, is a minimally invasive treatment for people suffering from varicose veins.
Endovenous Laser Ablation Therapy, commonly known as EVLT, is a new minimally invasive technique for the treatment of varicose veins. It treats the vein directly without the need to remove, using a laser fibre inserted directly into the vein(s).
This procedure makes use of catheters, lasers and ultrasounds and is performed on patients who most often have straight and untwisted veins. Varicose veins are not considered to be a serious health problem, however, can become very painful.
The procedure is performed by an interventional team of radiologists, and doctor, who use small lasers located at the end of catheters to heat the walls of veins to close them and stop the blood from flowing through the vein. This allows the patient’s blood to flow more efficiently as there are no faulty veins.
Compared to traditional vein removal surgery, EVLT is less invasive, causes less pain and can offer a faster recovery time. If you’re considering EVLT as a treatment option for varicose veins, the first step is to book a consultation with one of our specialists who can carry out an examination and determine if EVLT is the right choice for you.
Varicose veins are enlarged, swollen, and twisted veins that typically appear on the legs and feet. They are a common medical condition and are often characterised by their bluish or purplish colour. Varicose veins occur when the valves in the veins become weak or damaged, which can lead to blood pooling in the veins and causing them to stretch and bulge.
Several factors can contribute to the development of varicose veins, including:
While varicose veins are often harmless and primarily a cosmetic concern, they can cause discomfort, pain, and swelling in some cases. More severe cases may lead to complications such as skin ulcers or blood clots. Treatment options for varicose veins include lifestyle changes, compression stockings, and medical procedures like laser therapy, or minimally invasive procedures to close off the affected veins.
Treatment for varicose veins depends on the severity of the condition and the symptoms experienced. There are several options available, ranging from lifestyle changes and conservative measures to medical procedures. Common treatments for varicose veins include:
Exercise: Regular physical activity, especially activities that involve calf muscle contractions (like walking), can improve blood circulation in the legs.
Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the pressure on the veins in your legs.
Elevating Legs: Elevating your legs when resting or sleeping can help reduce swelling and improve blood flow.
Graduated compression stockings are specially designed to provide external pressure to the legs, helping to improve blood flow and reduce swelling.
In this minimally invasive procedure, a solution is injected into the affected veins, causing them to collapse and gradually fade away. It is often used for smaller varicose veins and spider veins.
This procedure involves the use of laser energy to close off the affected vein. A thin laser fibre is inserted into the vein, and the laser heats and seals the vein shut.
This surgical procedure is less common today due to the availability of minimally invasive options. It involves the removal (stripping) or tying off (ligation) of the damaged vein. It may be used for severe cases.
The choice of treatment depends on the individual’s specific condition, the size and location of the varicose veins, and the severity of symptoms. A vascular specialist can evaluate your condition and recommend the most appropriate treatment option.
When you have sore, red or inflamed varicose veins, your consultant may refer you to have laser treatment. When the skin around the area is also irritated, EVLT can be a procedure that is recommended.
The EVLT procedure is a day operation and usually takes a little less than an hour. Most patients resume their day-to-day activity afterwards, although it’s advised to rest for up to 3 days.
A week before your procedure it is advised to stop taking any vitamins and supplements. If you are on any blood thinners, your doctor will tell you if and when to stop taking them.
On the day of your EVTL treatment be sure to eat and drink as normal.
A patient would not need to be admitted into hospital for this procedure unless instructed to. Most patients can resume normal activity immediately after, but it is advised to rest for up to 3 days, and you should be recovered enough to drive after 5 days.
It is advised to wear compression socks during recovery as it will help with bruising and swelling. The following week, the doctor will take an ultrasound to make sure no clots have formed.
It’s important to note that while these treatments can improve the appearance and relieve symptoms of varicose veins, they may not necessarily prevent new ones from developing. Lifestyle modifications, such as exercise and maintaining a healthy weight, can help in preventing or delaying the recurrence of varicose veins.
The main aim of varicose vein surgery is to help alleviate symptoms caused by the varicose veins and improve healing. In some cases there can be small veins that remain. These often reduce with time, but in some patients they can be persistent. Treatment for these residual veins often includes injection of a special chemical that is designed to irritate the vessel. This is called sclerotherapy. Your surgeon will advise if this treatment is suitable for your condition. Many people seek sclerotherapy for cosmetic reasons.
If you have visible spider veins or small varicose veins that you find unsightly, sclerotherapy can help improve the appearance of your legs. Sclerotherapy is generally a safe and effective procedure when performed by experienced healthcare professionals, but it may not be suitable for everyone. Alternative treatments may therefore be recommended based on your individual circumstances.
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