Everything you Need to Know about Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT): The Modern Treatment for Vein Disease-Varicose Vein Removal.
For more than a century, varicose veins have affected the lives of many, but during this time the available methods to treat vein disease - removing the abnormal saphenous veins- involved a surgical procedure called vein stripping. Although, vein stripping provided a means of relief, it was generally reserved for the most severe cases as the treatment was somewhat barbaric in nature and the documented failure rate for this type of surgery was, and continues to be, anywhere from 30-80% in one to five years post operation. That meant that patients were almost guaranteed to have to endure the painful procedure more than once, and occasionally was performed multiple times before the varicose veins were removed entirely.
In the last decade, however, modern technology has made some significant advancements in healthcare today. One of these advancements has greatly affected the way Board Certified Phlebologists (vein disease specialists) remove varicose veins. This new and more effective treatment for varicose veins is commonly known as Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT- or Endovenous Laser Ablation). EVLT was created as a means to provide safe and effective care marking a dynamic improvement over vein stripping and has become the most commonly used method for treating saphenous vein disease (varicose veins) today.
Generally, EVLT is:
- Less Painful.
- Less Invasive as it only requires a few micro incisions, as opposed to vein stripping.
- Leaves no Scarring.
- Allows for relatively no downtime, where patients can return to work and normal activity within the same day.
- Is often performed in an non-surgical outpatient setting rather than a hospital.
- Can be performed with simple local anesthesia.
- And amazingly, it’s less expensive too and covered by most insurance companies!
So what is Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT)?
EVLT is a endovenous thermal ablation (EVLA) treatment technique that uses a laser to treat large veins beneath the surface of the skin. This type of laser is different than surface lasers that treat lighter or more delicate spider veins that appear close to the skin’s surface. EVLT involves the use of a catheter which is inserted using a small needle that helps to pass a long laser fiber directly into the vein, which then heats the veins as it is slowly removed. In addition to the laser, the procedure is performed in conjunction with an ultrasound which allows the Phlebologist to visualize the veins, providing a more precise method of gaining access to the veins, and shortens the time needed to perform the procedure. Generally, the entire procedure start to finish lasts no more than 15 to 45 minutes depending on the vein that needs to be removed. Once completed, the body will immediately begin the healing process naturally absorbing the vein into the blood stream, while allowing other healthy veins to return blood back to the heart.
The long term efficacy rate of EVLT is generally above 98%, and most patients notice a significant difference in appearance and overall wellbeing within a few days to weeks after their procedure. Although varicose veins, when treated at their source, can be closed and removed permanently, typically a patient will receive more than one procedure as there may be multiple veins needing treatment in either leg.
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Seeking Relief from a Board Certified Vein Specialist
At Illinois Vein Specialists, we care just as much about the medicine and the specialized practice of Phlebology (the treatment of vein and lymphatic disease) as we do our patients. We focus only on treating varicose and spider veins and treat patients from Buffalo Grove, Cary, Elgin, Algonquin, Palatine, Vernon Hills, Crystal Lake, Hoffman Estates, Lake Zurich, Fox River Grove, Mundelein, Grayslake, Wauconda, Chicago, and all areas of Barrington, Illinois.
We understand that when you choose a doctor you want to go to someone you know, like and trust, and honestly so do we. We know that patients come to us most often from satisfied patient referrals, but we encourage you to do your own homework and ask around. In the end no matter where you live or who you decide to have treat your varicose or spider veins find someone who focuses only on diagnosing and treating varicose and spider veins — find a Board Certified Venous and Lymphatic physician.