Laser for varicose veins doesn’t refer to skin laser treatments but rather what is known as “endovenous”. This simply means that doctors actually insert a laser tip into your vein. It won’t hurt as it’ll be done under a local anaesthetic. The procedure is performed if you require your varicose veins to be treated and has been around for approximately 15 years. Below are 5 things to keep in mind if you’re considering laser treatment.
1) Laser for Varicose Veins works by damaging the vein walls up to 1200 Degrees Celcius!
If you end up having laser treatment your doctor will select the most appropriate laser for your treatment. Some endovenous lasers are more likely to hurt more than others (after the treatment) and are known as bare tip laser fibers. These older fibers fire in one direction and so their energy is focussed. This is in contrasts to radial laser fibers which are more likely to fire in a circular manner, meaning a smoother sealing effect on your varicose veins.
2) You’ll may feel a stinging pain during the procedure but not because of the laser.
During your procedure you’ll have an anaesthetic procedure known as tumescent anaesthesia performed on your leg. This is the difficult part of the procedure but also a really important one. Using a pump or manual syringe your doctor will inject very dilute local anaesthetic around the laser so that when it’s switched on there’s no pain. Local anaesthetic can often sting and this will often be mild but in some patients < 5% the procedure may need to be delayed. It’s rare that you actually feel any pain when the laser procedure is being performed.
3) Not all your veins can be treated by laser so you’ll need further treatment.
Most people who suffer from varicose veins will have both veins which meander AND those which are straight. Laser treatment will only usually be used for straight veins as your doctor won’t be able to land the fiber in a meandering segment. Most people will then need to have either sclerotherapy or ambulatory phlebectomy to treat the side branches. It doesn’t mean that laser is not effective it just means it can only treat straight veins which most people have.
4) You may have some sore after laser treatment.
Bruising is not uncommon after laser treatment but an interesting symptom that you may suffer from after laser treatment is a feeling that you have a rope in your leg! This is because the treated straight vein is healing before the body naturally dissolves it. The feeling usually starts a week after treatment before resolving within the fortnight and can often be treated with Nurofen.
5) Hospital or Doctors Rooms
Most doctors prefer performing these procedures whilst you’re awake. The advantages of having your laser procedure done in a doctors room is that you can walk home straight away. This minimizes the risk of any deep vein thrombosis. However, there will be come cases where your doctor will recommend that you have endovenous laser ablation performed in a hospital setting under a general anaesthetic. You generally will have to be admitted overnight.