EVLT stands for EndoVenous Laser Treatment
A laser fiber is fired inside and along the length of your faulty, varicose vein. The laser energy damages the vein walls, shrinking them closed so that blood can no longer flow through.
No. There are many veins in the leg and after treatment the blood in the faulty veins will be diverted to normal veins with functional valves. The resulting increase in circulation will significantly relieve symptoms and improve appearance.
EVLT like all minimally invasive procedures, can potentially have some slight bruising, which commonly disappears within the first few weeks. With EVLT, you will feel a delayed tightness (or “pulling” sensation) 4-7 days after laser treatment which is normal and expected following a successful treatment.
All surgical procedures involve some element of risk and have the potential for complications. This should be balanced against the risk of complications if your varicose veins remain untreated. Consult your physician for further information.
You will be given a pair of special glasses to wear to protect your eyes, however this is just a precaution against accidental firing of laser energy outside the body.
Surgery (called ‘Ligation & Stripping’) is the traditional treatment, but it can be quite painful and often has a long recovery time. It is performed in a hospital, involves general anesthesia, leaves a scar, and has a fairly high recurrence rate (on average 10-25%).
Other alternatives include ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy (injection therapy) and radio frequency electrosurgery. Injection therapy for the saphenous vein has a high recurrence rate frequently requiring retreatment and is generally limited to smaller varicose and spider veins. Radiofrequency electrosurgery is more limited in the range of patients it can treat and the treatment time is longer than EVLT.
Clinical data with up to 5 years of follow-up show success rates of 93-98%. This is much higher than surgical ligation and stripping, radiofrequency electrosurgery, and injection sclerotherapy. Market researchers predict that, based on its superior efficacy and lower morbidity, endovenous laser treatment will soon become the new ‘gold standard’.
EVLT, when medically necessary (e.g., for relief of symptoms), is commonly reimbursed by most carriers (including Medicare), limiting the cost to the patient. Many insurance carriers require you to follow conservative therapy (compression stockings) for a period of time usually 3 – 6 months. Contact your specific insurer for details.