If your doctor has recommended a laser ablation to treat your bulging and twisted varicose veins, your reflux condition is an advanced one that involves your greater saphenous vein (GSV).

Take heart! You have 40 million other Americans who share your condition. Fortunately, recent innovations in minimally invasive treatments, such as endovenous laser ablation, ambulatory phlebectomy, and sclerotherapy, have done away with the need for hospital stays and invasive procedures—the vein strippings of the past. These safe and effective methods allow doctors to treat varicose veins on an outpatient basis.

Vein Ablation

What Is Vein Ablation?

EndoVenous Laser Treatment (Ablation) is also known as EVLT or EVLA. This brief, under-one-hour office procedure requires only local anesthetic. Vein ablation enjoys a 93–100 percent success rate, with patients experiencing minimal bruising, very little pain, and short recovery times.

What Happens During a Vein Ablation Procedure?

Your board-certified doctor will use an ultrasound to guide a thin, hollow needle into your greater saphenous vein. A wire is passed through the needle, the needle is removed, an introducer is guided in over the wire, and then the wire is removed. A very narrow laser filament is threaded through the introducer into the vein until it reaches the sapheofemoral junction in the groin. Your doctor will inject an anesthetic mixture into the entire vein to numb it. A laser machine then releases a burst of high-energy heat that causes the vein to contract and seal shut.

You will put on compression stockings immediately after the procedure and wear them overnight. It’s very important to wear your compression hose during the day for up to 10 days. The hose will speed healing time and helps relieve any pain and pulling that you might experience. Over-the-counter NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, will lessen any discomfort.

What Are the Long-Term Benefits of Laser Ablation?

You will see your doctor within a few days of your procedure, so an ultrasound can confirm that the vein was sealed and is healing properly. You can resume your normal activities immediately, although you should avoid walking on inclines, heavy lifting, and sitting or standing too long in any one place or position for the first 10 days.

You will notice a cosmetic improvement often within just a few days and certainly within weeks. Tired, achy, restless legs will be a thing of the past. A study cited by the National Institutes of Health found that two years after the procedure, 90-100 percent of veins are still closed and require no second treatment. Symptoms improve in 95 percent of patients, 83 percent of leg ulcers heal, and patients return to their work and active lives almost immediately!