Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) utilizes laser energy, which is simply a highly concentrated beam of light. Medical lasers work by delivering this light energy to the targeted tissue with extreme precision, without damaging the surrounding tissue. Lasers have proven safe and effective through years of use in all types of medical procedures, from eye surgery to dermatology. In the hands of a skilled physician, laserprocedures produce far fewer complications than conventional surgery.
Initially, ultrasound is utilized to map the course of a diseased vein. Subsequently, the physician guides a thin fiber into the diseased vein, through a small incision in the skin and vein wall. The laser fiber is advanced under ultrasound guidance through the vein and appropriately positioned. The fiber delivers pulsed laser heat to the diseased vein wall, thus closing and sealing the varicosed vein, and eliminating venous reflux. The vein is treated in segments as the catheter is gradually retracted towards the incision. When the entire vein has been ablated, the blood flow is automatically rerouted through adjacent healthy veins, restoring and improving circulation and reducing swelling. Possible rare complications of endovenous laser treatment are thermal skin burns and transient numbness.
EVLA is reimbursed by Medicare and most private insurers, once proof of medical necessity has been documented and the patient has failed conservative therapy. Approved for use in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration in 2002, EVLA is performed in a physician’s office utilizing local anesthesia. Patients are encouraged to walk immediately following the procedure, and are usually able to resume their normal activities within twenty-four hours. Compression stockings are generally prescribed for one to two weeks following the procedure.
EVLA offers a variety of benefits including:
- Relief of symptoms
- Minimally invasive, nonsurgical procedure
- Same day, outpatient procedure
- Minimal downtime
- Minimal or no scarring