Endovenous Laser Ablation
Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA), also referred to as Endolaser, EVLT, is an endovenous laser treatment performed in the office as a minimally invasive method for treating large varicose veins. Developed and patented by The Vein Treatment Center, EVLA uses existing laser and ultrasound technology to close the main vein from the inside with laser energy. EVLA makes costly hospitalizations, the need for anesthesia, incisions, the need for a surgeon, and patient downtime for recovery completely unnecessary.
What to Expect During Treatment
In our accredited office, a patient will undergo a ‘leg marking’. With ultrasound visualization, the problem vein and the important areas are drawn onto the skin making a map to use as a guide during the procedure.
The patient then has a topical numbing cream applied to the skin for one hour. This makes the injection of the local anesthetic almost painless. While waiting, the patient chooses a movie, TV show or music to watch in surround vision glasses.
In a sterile setting, the patient is placed on the table; the area is then cleaned and prepped by the doctor for the laser procedure. Local anesthesia is given under color duplex ultrasound guidance, and then a minute laser fiber is inserted directly into the vein through a catheter (tiny tube). Pulses of laser energy are released along the course of the vein to seal it completely. Endolaser (EVLA, EVLT) requires only a small nick in the skin. Once the laser has sealed the vein the fiber is removed and a steri-strip or a stitch closes the area. Patients who need a Mini-Phlebectomy treatment for the smaller branches will have it performed at the same time. When the procedure is complete the leg is wrapped with elastic bandages.
Post instructions are reviewed with the patient, then they walk out of the office and return to their normal daily routine immediately without any pain medication.
You wear the bandages until your Post-Op Visit the next day. Then your leg is unwrapped and examined. You will be slightly bruised; this will generally go away in a 1-3 weeks. Some people feel tightness in the area of the treated vein indicating that the vein is healing. About 15% of our patients need to take an over the counter pain medication like Advil (ibuprofen) during recovery. Follow-up sclerotherapy may be needed for any remaining small spider veins.
This endovenous laser treatment (Endolaser (EVLA, EVLT)) is a patented procedure that laser manufacturers often refer to or publicize as EVLT™, ELVS™, or ELAS™. It is a safe and effective treatment for large varicose veins, specifically approved by the FDA in 2002 for treatment of greater saphenous vein reflux. Hundreds of thousands of cases treated successfully worldwide since its creation. Endolaser (EVLA, EVLT) has an overall success rate greater than 97%. These results are better than those of traditional surgery in the short term and the long term.
EVLT and other advanced treatments
For EVLT and other advanced treatments, be prepared to block out 2-3 hours during your appointment visit, and keep in mind that you will need to come back the next day for a follow-up appointment.
Patient’s leg(s) will be wrapped for the night, but no compression stockings are necessary. You can return to your daily activities, but are advised not to exercise for two full days.
There will be minimal to moderate bruising following treatment which can last 2-4 weeks; the time span depends on the individual.
Staying out of the sun throughout the duration of your treatments is advised. If you are planning on being outdoors, wear long pants or a long skirt, and apply SPF 30 or higher if you are showing skin. As mentioned, minimal to moderate bruising may occur, but can be covered with makeup if needed.
The use of heat from a radio frequency source has also been used to close the main vein. This method passes a catheter containing electrodes through a small incision in the skin, to heat and close the vein. Local anesthesia with sedation is required for this procedure. The success rate is not as high as EVLA and it has an increased incidence of complications. Radio frequencies can also be used to cauterize small veins through the skin, however there is a risk that this sort of heat can damage the skin. Radio Frequency Closure™ techniques are not used at The Vein Treatment Center.
Before and After
EVLT, Mini-Phlebectomy & Sclerotherapy | Male | 57 yrs old
EVLT & Mini-Phlebectomy | Female | 53 yrs old
EVLT & Mini-Phlebectomy | Female | 41 yrs old
EVLT & Mini-Phlebectomy | Female | 46 yrs old
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Varicose Veins?
What Causes Varicose Veins?
Are Varicose Veins And Spider Veins Hereditary?
"I was really blown away, I thought I needed surgery to get rid of my varicose veins. My mother had to have anesthesia to have hers removed and the scars were almost as bad as having varicose veins. I did the endolaser procedure and I took the day off because I thought I'd need to go home right after. I went shopping instead. Dr. Navarro was wonderful, maybe it was a good day for him but I got the impression that he cared a lot about me as a patient. I know he cared about my legs because they look great now. I'm going to wear shorts this summer for the first time in years."
– Martina on CitySearch.com, January 2011