Endovenous Laser Treatment
What Is EVLT?
EVLT stands for endovenous laser treatment, a minimally invasive way to eliminate varicose veins. It is quickly becoming the gold standard for treating varicose veins and is covered by most insurance plans and Medicare.
EVLT uses laser energy, which is simply a highly concentrated beam of light. Medical lasers work by delivering this energy to the targeted tissue with extreme precision, so as not to affect the healthy surrounding tissues. Lasers have proven their safety and effectiveness through years of use in all types of medical procedures, from eye surgery to dermatology. In the hands of a skilled physician, laser procedures offer far less risk for complications than conventional surgery.
How is EVLT performed?
First, ultrasound is used to map out the veins within your leg. A local anesthetic is used to numb the treatment area. A thin fiber is inserted into the damaged vein through a very small entry point in the skin. A laser light is emitted through the fiber, and as the fiber is pulled back through the vein, it delivers just the right amount of energy. The targeted tissue reacts with the light energy, causing the vein to close and seal shut. Eventually, the closed vein shrinks and is absorbed by the body.
Varicose veins are typically superficial veins that handle less than 5% of the body’s blood flow. When a varicose vein is sealed, the body automatically routes blood through other, healthy veins.
The EVLT procedure is minimally invasive and requires no general anesthesia. Only a local anesthetic is used to number the area where the physician is working. Patients are encouraged to walk immediately after the procedure and can resume normal activities the same day.
What are the side effects of the treatment?
EVLT is a safe, FDA-approved treatment for varicose veins. Side effects are rare and can include deep vein thrombosis (blood clot), and infection or inflammation at the site of the probe entry point. Some patients may experience temporary soreness or some slight swelling, which can be treated effectively with over the counter, non-aspirin pain relievers and typically subsides within the first five days after treatment.
The doctors at Northeast Wisconsin Vein Center are now using a special jacketed fiber that prevents any contact between the fiber and the vein wall during the procedure. This prevents much of the pain and bruising that is often associated with more conventional methods of vein ligation and stripping.
At the follow-up appointments, we examine the treatment area to make sure the skin is healing well. We also use ultrasound to confirm successful treatment of the veins and the absence of any complication.
With all vein treatments, photographs are taken of your legs before and after your vein procedure to be stored in your medical record. At your follow-up office visits, we’re happy to show you the photographs so you can see the visible difference your treatments have made!