Laser Vein Removal
What is Laser Ablation Therapy?
Endovenous Laser Ablation Therapy is also known as Endovenous Laser Treatment (ELT) and Endovenous Ablation (EVA) is a minimally invasive technique used for treating Varicose Veins and Spider Veins.
The majority of the heat from the light is absorbed by the Haemoglobin in the blood vessels so there is no risk of scarring.
Laser Ablation Therapy is always performed under Ultrasound guidance to help the Surgeon to clearly visualise and help guide the laser beam.
Benefits of Ablation Therapy
The biggest benefit of Ablation Therapy for Vein Removal is that it is minimally invasive. This means it is:
- 90% success rates, 10 years after the initial treatment
- effective in seconds
- less complications
- incision free
- no scarring and
- shows very quick results
- comparable efficacy.
What Can Laser Ablation Therapy Treat?
Various Laser Therapies can treat:
- Larger varicose veins in the legs
- Vascular malformations
- Capillary malformations or port wine stains
- Spider Veins
- Telangiectasias on the Face.
Types of Laser Ablation Therapy
The Laser Ablation process works by irradiating the target vein with a laser beam. Ablation Therapy is performed as either:
- Laser Ablation Therapy using IPL. Usually performed by a Specialist Nurse, or Dermatologist.
- Endovenous Laser Ablation Therapy. These therapies are commonly performed by a Phlebologist, Interventional Radiologist or Vascular Surgeon.
Endovenous Laser Ablation Therapy
Endovenous Laser Ablation Therapy is a minimally invasive method where a catheter or fine laser fibre is guided into the vein until it reaches the site of vein abnormality.
On reaching the site the laser emits energy through the vein to heat near the blood vessel, to burn (cauterise) and close the target veins.
The laser heat destroys the damaged vein by absorbing laser energy which shrinks (sublimates) and evaporates the vein. While this happens the doctor can watch the vein dissolve on a Duplex Ultrasound screen.
This procedure is often performed for larger Varicose Veins and the procedure can be performed in an outpatient setting which may require about 60 minutes. The procedure may require a local anaesthetic (lignocaine), but sedation is not required.
In almost all cases, the Endovenous Laser Ablation procedure causes minimal after-procedure pain, a quick recovery period and almost immediate relief of symptoms.
Success rates of greater than 90% for 10 years after treatment.
Endovenous Ablation Therapy Preparation
One might be advised to stop taking particular drugs before the procedure, if any are taken at all. This might include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
One is advised to wear loose-fitting and comfortable clothing prior to the procedure. The Doctor may use Duplex Ultrasonography to map out how the procedure is to be carried out.
Ablation Therapy Procedure
The Doctor will start the procedure by numbing the vein, followed by making use of the Ultrasound to see what is happening in the affected area.
The treatment can give immediate results with the vein disappearing with just a few laser pulses, however this very much depends on the extent of the condition. On average, a couple of weeks to months are expected to pass to see the full extent of its results.
Ablation Therapy makes use of the following: Ultrasound Machine, Radiofrequency Electrode/Laser, Vascular Catheter.
Ablation Therapy Downtime
Normal activity is encouraged after carrying out Ablation Therapy. However, some activities such as heavy lifting and bed rest are strongly discouraged after the procedure is carried out.
Walking immediately after the procedure is an absolute requirement and must be continued for at least 14 days after. Pain and excessive bruising can be minimised through the use of extra compression (GRADE 3).
Ablation Therapy Prognosis
There is no risk of scarring from Ablation Therapy, as the light is absorbed by the haemoglobin in the blood vessels.
Patients need a follow-up check-up with the Doctor a week after the procedure to assess the situation. Very high success rates are associated with this procedure, with very little instances of recurrence.
How is Laser Therapy Different From Surgery?
Laser is less painful than Vein Surgery (Ligation and Stripping), and it has a shorter recovery time.
Laser Ablation Therapy Cost Details
Ablation Therapy for Deeper Vein issues, such as Varicose Veins, can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000. Depending on the scope and severity of the condition, the cost may be higher.
Combination Ablations Therapies
Other approaches for Vein Removal using Laser Ablation Therapy combine laser and other techniques these include:
The Venaseal™ or “Superglue” treatment is a new way of closing the main vein in the leg that causes varicose veins (usually either the Great Saphenous Vein GSV or the Small Saphenous Vein SSV or both).
Risks & Complications
Long term risks associated with the use of lasers in medical treatments are rare. Temporary side effects can include, reddening of the skin or localised swelling. Rare complications may include: nerve damage, Thrombophlebitis, deep vein thrombosis.