EVLT sounds like it might be something out of a science fiction movie, but those initials actually stand for endovenous laser ablation. This relatively new varicose vein treatment is minimally invasive and the recovery time is much less than with conventional surgical procedures. Here are the basics on EVLT from Vascular Interventional Associates Vein Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Although normal blood pressure can move blood in the arteries, the veins depend on muscular contractions in the legs to move blood back to the heart. To prevent back-flow, each vein has small flaps of tissue along its length called valves. During the pause between heartbeats, the valves close and keep blood from flowing backward until the next heartbeat. These valves can become weak with time, however. When they fail, blood pools in the veins, distending them into the condition called varicose veins. Some people are more prone to varicose veins because of heredity, but pregnancy, spending long hours on the feet and obesity can all contribute to varicose veins. You may want to correct this condition for cosmetic reasons or because you have symptoms like burning, itching or leg pain.
Lasers use intense heat and special kinds of light to perform medical tasks – they can cut skin or seal blood vessels to prevent bleeding during surgery. In the case of varicose vein treatment, EVLT is a technique used to heat the vein. The veins responds by collapsing and then scarring closed so blood cannot flow through it. Other veins take over the task, and the collapsed vein is eventually absorbed into the surrounding tissues. EVLT is typically used for large varicose veins like the saphenous vein and anterior thigh veins in the upper leg. Other treatments are more effective for veins in the calf. This procedure is a little more expensive due to the supplies and techniques used, but many insurance companies will pay all or part of the procedure.
EVLT is a minimally invasive procedure; it is typically performed in a doctor’s office, vein center or outpatient surgery center. A fine catheter attached to a laser is inserted through a tiny incision (cut) at one end of the vein and then threaded up the diseased vein. When the laser is turned on and slowly withdrawn from the vein, the intense heat seals the walls of the vein. In many cases, the procedure requires only a local anesthetic, and results are equally to the standard surgical procedure but usually with less discomfort or bruising. After the procedure, you’ll wear a special leg wrap and compression stockings for about a week. Most people can resume normal activities (except strenuous exercise) within a few days. Endovenous laser ablation for varicose vein treatment is one of many options we offer at Vascular Interventional Associates Vein Center. We serve both Cincinnati and the northern Kentucky area. Please contact us today for answers to your questions or to schedule an appointment.