If you are dealing with varicose veins or spider veins, your doctor must have suggested laser ablation as a treatment option. Though it sounds a bit high-tech or complex, don’t worry; it’s actually a straight-forward and effective way to get rid of those troublemaking veins.

This article covers 10 key facts about laser ablation for vein treatment that will give you a clearer picture of what to expect and help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

What is laser ablation for vein treatment?

Laser ablation for vein treatment, also known as endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) or endovenous laser treatment (EVLT), is a medical procedure that’s used to treat varicose veins and other chronic venous insufficiencies.

This treatment treats medium- to large varicose veins in your legs. Varicose veins are those twisted veins in bulges that are bluish or skin-colored in your legs. These veins fail to efficiently return blood from the legs to the heart, leading to symptoms such as pain, swelling, itching and other discomfort.

Some people get their varicose veins removed for cosmetic reasons. After this treatment, the varicose veins shrink and blood circulates to your healthy veins. Also, you won’t see or feel the varicose veins after a successful treatment.

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Some Interesting Facts About Laser Ablation for Vein Treatment

  1. It’s less intensive than traditional methods.

The way we treat varicose veins has changed a lot over the years. Initially, these veins were treated by tying them off and removing the affected veins through a surgery called high ligation and stripping. But today, newer and less invasive treatments like endovenous laser ablation and radiofrequency ablation are used. These newer methods are often preferred as they involve less pain, shorter recovery times and smaller incisions.

  1. EVLA is a non-surgical procedure.

This treatment is referred to as non-surgical or minimally invasive. During the EVLA procedure, the doctor makes a tiny incision in the leg where the varicose veins are. Then, a thin catheter is entered into the affected vein, guided by ultrasound. A laser fiber is then sent through the catheter, and a tumescent solution is injected around the vein for additional anesthesia.

Then, the laser is activated, where it delivers energy that heats and collapses the vein, permanently shutting it down. The catheter and laser fiber are then removed. The incision is bandaged.

  1. It’s based on a thorough ultrasound process.

The treatment plan starts with a thorough duplex ultrasound to map out your veins. This scan creates a visual map of your circulatory system, showing how well your veins and blood flow are functioning. It is quite similar to a baby scan, but this is performed on your legs. This way, it provides important information about which valves are faulty (refluxed) and if any clots are present. This detailed information helps doctors determine the best course of action specifically for your condition.

  1. The treatment takes less than 45 minutes.

Though the exact treatment time depends on the size of the area and the complications involved, this treatment usually consumes less time. You can get both legs affected by varicose veins treated at the same time. Post-treatment, your doctor would recommend wearing compression socks for one week to speed up the healing process. And it is common to experience some minor discomfort, such as itching and sensitivity for a couple of weeks post-treatment.

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  1. Laser ablation is an outpatient procedure.

This means that you don’t have to stay overnight in the hospital post treatment. You can come to the vein treatment center for the procedure and go home the same day. 

So, you will arrive at the clinic or outpatient surgery center, and the medical team will prepare the treatment area. The laser ablation treatment takes less than an hour and you will be monitored for a short time post the procedure to ensure there are no immediate complications.

Once the medical team is satisfied that you are stable, you will be discharged.

  1. Laser treatment heats varicose vein walls up to 1200 °C to damage them.

The laser treatment for varicose veins often involves heating the affected vein walls up to 1200 degrees Celsius. Based on your needs, your healthcare professional will select the right type of laser for you. Some lasers, such as bare-tip laser fibers, fire in one direction and the energy is focused and intense. This hurts the patients a bit more. Whereas the radial laser fibers are more likely to fire in a cicular manner, which means they seal the varicose veins more smoothly. So, it’s all about picking the right tool for the treatment!

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  1. You will feel a stinging pain, but not because of the laser.

You might feel some stinging pain during the procedure, but it’s not from the laser itself. Instead, it’s from the tumescent anesthesia used in your leg.

This procedure doesn’t use general anesthesia but only local anesthesia. This step, though a bit uncomfortable, is crucial. Your doctor will use a pump or manual syringe to inject a very dilute local anesthetic around the varicose veins where the laser will be used. 

This procedure ensures that once the laser is switched on, you won’t feel any pain. The local anesthetic can sting a bit but it is usually mild. So, you don’t have to worry.

In rare cases (less than 5%), it might require delaying the procedure. Typically, you won’t feel any pain when the actual laser treatment is performed.

  1. This treatment is considered safe.

EVLA (Endovenous Laser Ablation) treatment for varicose veins is considered safe because it is minimally invasive and requires only local anesthesia. Unlike traditional surgery, which requires larger incisions and carries higher risks of complications such as infection and bleeding, EVLA involves only a small incision through which a laser fiber is inserted into the affected vein. 

This approach has a high success rate in treating varicose veins, consumes less time and allows for a quicker recovery time. Most patients are able to resume their normal activities within a short period of time after the procedure. If you prefer getting rid of varicose veins with minimal risk and inconvenience, this is a safe and effective option.

However, some complications, such as nerve damage or blood clots, are possible. But the risks are very low, usually less than 1%.

  1. This treatment boasts impressive 98% success rate.

Endovenous laser ablation treatment is highly effective and boasts a success rate of 98% in treating varicose veins. So, in the vast majority of cases, the procedure successfully resolves the underlying venous issues just after one treatment session.

The success of EVLA lies in its ability to precisely target and close off the malfunctioning vein using laser energy. With time, your body naturally starts absorbing the closed vein, redirecting blood flow to healthier veins nearby. Furthermore, the need for additional treatments after EVLA is rare. 

  1. Quick recovery time

The recovery time for endovenous thermal ablation (EVTA) is minimal. Most patients can resume doing their normal activities within a day or two after the procedure. But post the procedure, you will need someone to drive you home. It’s better you ask your healthcare professional or vein specialist about what you should do to help your body heal quickly.

You might experience some mild bruising, swelling, or discomfort, but these symptoms usually subside within a week or so. It’s often recommended to wear compression stockings for a couple of weeks to help with healing and improve circulation. 

Also, avoid doing strenuous exercise until your provider says it’s safe and avoid flying for two weeks.

Get enough sleep; this helps your body recover faster. Move and walk around often during the day. Following this, you can return to work a few days after this treatment. 

Bonus fact:

Did you know that this laser ablation isn’t for everyone?

Endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) is often best for treating large and uncomplicated varicose veins that cause symptoms such as pain, itching or swelling. They include larger trunk and leg veins, including:

  • Small Saphenous Vein (SSV)
  • Great Saphenous Vein (GSV)
  • Their major tributaries that include Anterior Accessory Saphenous Veins (AASV),

Though the laser fiber is flexible, it’s tricky to maneuver around tiny, twisted surface veins. So, in such cases, sclerotherapy is recommended. Also, the laser ablation isn’t recommended for sensitive areas such as the vulva or scrotum.

Final Words

So, these are the 10 key facts, with an additional bonus fact about laser ablation for vein treatment. We hope you learned everything regarding this treatment and how it helps. 

Whether you are suggesting it for treating varicose veins or for cosmetic reasons, it’s a highly effective and minimally invasive procedure. With its quick recovery time and high success rate, it’s no wonder more and more people are opting for this treatment.

If you are seeking laser ablation treatment from expert hands in top vein treatment centers located in Westlake Village, Ventura, Oxnard, Los Angeles, Palmdale, and Beverly Hills, check out the Center for Vein Wellness for more details.