Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) is also referred to as Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT). What exactly does it mean?
- ‘Endovenous’ means ‘inside the veins’
- ‘Laser’ is heat energy transmitted by light
- ‘Ablation’ means to ‘destroy’
Therefore, EVLA literally means to destroy veins from the inside with laser. It is an advanced technique that uses heat from a laser to seal off varicose veins and prevent the flow of blood. Below are 10 key facts about Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) that help to explain why it’s the treatment of choice for both physicians and patients.
Firstly, what are varicose veins?
Veins are responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood from around the body, back up to the heart. However, when vein valves, or vein walls, become damaged they can lead to Chronic Venous Insufficiency. As well as swelling and skin discolouration, one of the symptoms of CVI is varicose veins. When blood is not able to flow back up to the heart – it begins to reflux or pool, forming twisted, enlarged vessels you know as varicose veins.
10 Key Facts About Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA)
- EVLA offers many advantages over vein stripping. It’s minimally-invasive and non-surgical. It offers patients of all skin types of immediate results with no hospital stay and minimal downtime.
- EVLA has an excellent success rate. Endovenous Laser Ablation works effectively on 98% of all patients, with only one treatment required. In fact, it’s unusual for patients to come back for a second treatment.
- EVLA is done using local anaesthetic. No general anaesthesia is required. The type of local anaesthetic used is called “tumescent anaesthetic” and it’s injected around the vein area with the help of ultrasound imagery. This makes the entire procedure extremely comfortable and virtually painless for patients.
- EVLA is best suited for patients with large, bulging varicose veins. Additionally, it’s ideal for veins that are damaged or have faulty valves, particularly in the legs. You’re an ideal candidate for this EVLA if you have deep, painful varicose veins, itching and cramping, swelling and/or restless legs.
- EVLA treats the main venous trunks of the legs:
- Great Saphenous Vein (GSV)
- Small Saphenous Vein (SSV)
- Their major tributaries such as the Anterior Accessory Saphenous Veins (AASV)
- EVLA does not treat smaller, more superficial veins called varicosities. Varicosities are irregularly dilated veins that tend to appear closer to the surface in the lower extremities. Although varicosities are also caused by an underlying condition known as venous insufficiency syndrome, they are better suited for treatment with sclerotherapy.
- The treatment plan includes a duplex ultrasound to map out your veins. The scan creates a visual map of your circulatory system and lets doctors know how well your venous network and blood flow are functioning. The ultrasound images are similar to what you would see during a baby scan only this one is performed on your legs. The scan can reveal important information such as which valves are refluxed (faulty), if any clots are present, and helps doctors determine an optimal course of action specifically for your condition.
- EVLA reroutes blood flow through other healthy veins. During an EVLA/EVLT treatment, your doctor inserts the laser fibre into the vein being treated. As the laser heats up slowly, it causes controlled damage to the vein walls. Eventually, the treated vein shrinks, becomes absorbed by the body and disappears. The body then directs the flow of blood through other healthy veins, re-establishing proper blood flow.
- EVLA is a quick outpatient procedure that can take anywhere from 15-20 minutes. The exact treatment time depends on the size of the area being treated. Both legs can be treated during the same visit. You’ll be required to wear a compression garment for one week to facilitate the healing process. It’s normal to experience minor discomfort such as itching and sensitivity for a couple of weeks post-procedure.
- Walking immediately after treatment is recommended. Patients are pleasantly surprised to learn that they can resume their normal daily activities right away. The only exception is to avoid strenuously exercise such as running and working out at the gym for approximately two weeks.
For more on the treatment of varicose veins, visit Treatment Options.
Seek expert advice
The doctors at The Vein Institute specialise in varicose vein treatment. We offer patients a comprehensive treatment program to treat varicose veins, with non-surgical laser treatment techniques. The benefits of laser treatment to patients are;
- Walk-in walk-out treatment
- 98% success rate
- Extremely effective
- Can be performed at a clinic (no hospitalisation)
- No general anaesthetic
- Medicare rebates apply
- No downtime or time away from work