In recent years, endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) has replaced the traditional surgical method of treating varicose veins. This procedure uses a laser to heat the veins instead of surgically removing them. The heat produces a steam bubble inside the vein, which destroys the vein walls, causing the affected vein to collapse. The body, in turn, naturally absorbs the dead tissue.
EVLA can be safely performed in an ordinary doctor’s office as opposed to an operating room. It only requires local anesthesia and lasts approximately 30-60 minutes per leg. Prior to the procedure, Dr. Michael Omidi will perform an ultrasound scan and mark the affected veins with a pen. After making a very fine incision at the site, he will then insert a catheter to position it inside the affected vein. The laser fiber is then inserted through the catheter to heat the vein and seal it permanently.
Since the incision is very small, the procedure requires no sutures.
A simple bandage suffices to cover the affected area and prevent any bleeding. You can expect to start walking and resume your daily activities immediately after the procedure. Most patients are advised to wear the stockings for up to two weeks after EVLA treatment, however. This procedure leaves no scars.
Most patients report experiencing minimal or no pain after this treatment, but some possible side effects may include temporary numbness, cramping, and bruising.
There is a very low risk of experiencing a deep vein thrombosis, which refers to the formation of a blood clot in the deep veins in the leg. Lastly, thrombophlebitis may occur as a result of heating the wall of the vein. This complication refers to an inflammatory process that causes a blood clot to form; this clot is not dangerous, however, and is naturally absorbed by the body over the course of a few weeks. Serious complications as a result of EVLA are very rare.