Laser therapy has successfully treated varicose veins for nearly two decades. It’s natural to be curious about the procedure, so we’re here to answer your questions.
Laser therapy for varicose veins has been widely used since 2002. Before these FDA-approved laser treatments became available, varicose vein patients had to undergo a more invasive vein stripping and ligation operation in a hospital. Fortunately, today’s laser treatments and other modern varicose vein therapies are performed as outpatient procedures, eliminating the need for a hospital stay and greatly reducing recovery time.
Although minimally invasive, laser treatments are a medical procedure that requires the skills of a trained vascular specialist. It’s natural to feel anxious about any surgery, so while your Center for Vein doctor will explain the procedure in more detail, here’s a general rundown of what you can expect before and after laser treatment.
Six things to know about your laser treatment
Laser treatment for varicose veins is also known as endovenous laser ablation. During this procedure, your doctor will insert a catheter with a laser tip and thread it through the vein. The heat from the laser heats and destroys the diseased vein, diverting blood to nearby healthy veins.
Knowing these six features about this quick procedure will help you feel more confident and prepared as you talk with your doctor and undergo treatment:
Preparation is easy. Because you’re not going into the hospital for an extended stay, prepping for laser treatment is simple. Drink lots of water beforehand, and wear comfortable clothes on the day of the procedure. If you take blood thinners or other medications, your doctor may advise you to stop taking them a few days before the procedure.
It’s virtually painless. You’ll be given a local anesthetic around the treated area. Besides a slight sting from the anesthesia needle, you shouldn’t feel any pain during the procedure.
It’s safe and effective. Laser treatment has been a varicose vein treatment of choice for nearly two decades. A 2008 study looked at 516 veins treated with laser therapy. In 98.1 percent of those cases, the laser successfully eliminated the swollen varicose vein.
There are minimal side effects. Any surgical procedure has side effects, but those from laser therapy are relatively minimal. You may see some minor bruising that will quickly fade. Of course, if you experience any pain, bruising, or bleeding, contact your doctor.
There are few restrictions during recovery. One of the significant benefits of laser therapy is a relatively quick and easy recovery. You can return to your usual activities immediately after the procedure with few restrictions. Avoid heavy lifting and intense workouts for about a week. Your doctor may also recommend that you wear compression stockings to promote healing. These elastic stockings apply gentle pressure to the calves to help blood circulation.
There’s a chance laser treatment is not suitable for you. Laser treatment works best for straight varicose veins. If your veins are significantly gnarled, your doctor may recommend another therapy such as sclerotherapy or ambulatory phlebectomy.
Don’t delay treating your varicose veins
Treating your varicose veins can be a scary decision. But understand that the caring physicians at Center for Vein Restoration (CVR) can help make that process easier. Our physicians are experienced, board-certified, and can walk you through each treatment option to find the one that best fits your lifestyle and needs.
Contact one of our offices today for a consultation, or call 1-800-FIX-LEGS to speak to a dedicated Patient Services Representative. You can also easily schedule online.