Varicose veins are not only aesthetically unappealing, but they can be painful. At Nevada Vein and Vascular, we offer a variety of treatment options for removing varicose veins. One of them is endovenous laser ablation.
What is laser ablation?
In laser ablation, we emit laser energy inside the varicose vein. This energy damages the walls of the vein, causing them to collapse and the vein to close off. The body instantly reroutes any blood in the vein to a nearby healthy vein. The body then goes about the process of scavenging and absorbing the closed off vein.
Benefits of Laser Ablation
Laser ablation is a minimally invasive method for removing varicose veins. Prior to the development of technology such as laser ablation and radiofrequency ablation, the method for removing varicose veins was a surgical procedure known as vein stripping. Vein stripping in invasive, requires fairly involved recovery, and can have complications.
Laser ablation removes the unsightly veins, and alleviates the pain, swelling, skin irritation or ulceration, and discoloration effectively with little discomfort.
Who is a good candidate for laser ablation?
Since laser ablation is a minimally invasive procedure with virtually no recovery, just about anyone bothered by varicose veins can have this procedure. Patients considering this treatment should first have tried conservative treatments for varicose veins, such as wearing compression stockings, exercise (particularly involving your legs), weight loss, and elevating your legs while sitting.
Laser Ablation Procedure
We start with an ultrasound scan to identify the varicose veins. During the scan we will cover your leg with drapes. Depending on the vein location, you’ll be on your back or front. We then mark the varicose veins with a pen.
Next, we inject a small amount of anesthetic directly above the vein, and we insert a needle into the targeted vein. We pass a wire
through the needle and up the vein. The needle is removed and a catheter (thin plastic tube) is passed over the wire and up the vein. The wire is then removed.
A laser fiber is passed up the catheter so its tip is at the highest point of the vein being treated. This is often at the groin crease. To prepare the vein for the laser energy, anesthetic is injected around the vein through multiple tiny needle pricks. The laser is now turned on and pulled down the vein over a period of about five minutes. As the laser energy enters the vein it causes the vein walls to collapse. This effectively closes off the vein.
Laser ablation takes just 20-30 minutes per leg.
Recovery After Endovenous Ablation
Following your treatment, we’ll put you in a gradient compression stocking to help reduce bruising and tenderness and to minimize the rare possibility of blood clot formation. The pressure also helps the body start going about the process of absorbing the vein. You’ll wear these compression stockings for two weeks.
You can return to normal activities and work immediately. Pretty much the only thing you shouldn’t do is get on a plane or anything involving prolonged sitting, such as a car trip. You’ll have to avoid long-haul flights for at least 3-4 weeks.
What are the results of laser ablation?
Most veins treated with laser ablation are effectively invisible, even to ultrasound, 12 months after the procedure. There isn’t any scarring with this procedure, and there is little, if any, discomfort. The treated vein will not return. Of course, you can still develop other varicose veins.
Risks associated with laser ablation
Laser ablation at Nevada Vein and Vascular is very successful and there is a very low risk of complications. There is a rare possibility of deep vein thrombosis/clotting. Nerve damage to surface sensory veins is possible, but these nerves usually return to normal in a few weeks to months.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are suffering from varicose veins and are interested in Laser Ablation, contact Nevada Vein & Vascular. Call us at 775-323-3000 to schedule a consultation. Our practice serves Reno, NV and surrounding areas.