212017Jul

A Beginner’s Guide to Endovenous Laser Ablation

Every day, the average heart beats more than 115,000 times moving oxygenated blood to the organs and limbs of the body and back to the heart. This beautiful, complex process is often one that we take for granted until something goes amiss. One of the most common problems affecting nearly half of all people in the US is varicose veins. Known for being unattractive and often painful, varicose veins happen when blood pools against leaky valves contrary to the one-way flow in the veins. The resulting bulging, often blue or red veins are seldom an indication of a more serious health problem, but treatment options are available to reduce discomfort and improve their appearance. 

What is Endovenous Laser Ablation

Once upon a time, the only treatment for painful varicose veins was surgery where the veins were stripped. Highly effective, surgery carried with it risks associated with anesthesia and complications such as blood clots. Developments in laser therapy have given rise to a treatment called endovenous laser ablation (EVLA). Specialized lasers use radiofrequency or laser energy to close the veins. Recent studies have shown EVLA to be as effective as traditional surgery without painful, lengthy recovery times and potential complications. 

What are the Risks of Endovenous Laser Ablation?

Any procedure where the skin is penetrated, even if it is only a small nick, carries the potential for infection. Fortunately, the infection rate with EVLA is less than  one in 1,000. Most patients report some bruising and tenderness that is easily mitigated by wearing compression stockings and taking an over-the-counter pain reliever.  

Benefits of EVLA

Unlike traditional methods, there is no surgical incision during EVLA. Only a small nick in the skin is created that does not need to be stitched. EVLA is complication-free and safe and leaves virtually no scars. Most of the veins that are treated are invisible by ultrasound just 12 months after the procedure and most patients report symptom relief immediately after the procedure. People report returning to normal daily activities immediately with little or no pain.

For those who suffer with varicose veins, EVLA is a highly effective, non-surgical option that can relieve pain and discomfort without extensive recovery times. For more information about ELVA or to schedule your free consultation, contact The Kimmel Institute today.