Endovenous Laser Ablation (ELA) is a technique which has been developed for the treatment of unsightly Varicose Veins from within, and without resorting to surgery to remove any unsightly veins. The veins are heated locally by laser, with the heat killing the cell walls and allowing the body to absorb the dead tissue naturally. The laser treatment has several brand names such as EVLT, Veinseal and ELVes, but they all do the same job; with the good news being that almost all patients with Varicose Veins are suitable candidates for EVLA treatment with a very small percentage who have experienced recurrent veins after surgery being managed by ´Foam Sclerotherapy Treatment.´
Using Ultrasound equipment, a scan is performed on the area and the veins suitable for treatment are very accurately targeted and marked with a pen. In a horizontal position with the patient laying either front or back, the leg is cleaned and covered while a local anaesthetic is injected into the skin above the vein; then using a Catheter, a laser-fibre is inserted into the vein – usually up to the groin area, while more local anaesthetic is injected to minimise any discomfort.
All parties present are required to wear laser safety spectacles as a precaution while the treatment commences. The laser treatment into each vein takes around 5 minutes, with an average treatment time of 20 minutes per leg. During this time, it´s quite normal for the patient to experience some burning sensations; but the treatment will be painless thanks to the infusion of the local anaesthetic. The laser and catheter are then removed and the tiny needle puncture wound is covered with a sterile dressing. The leg is then fitted with a compression stocking to fully protect it.
After a short period of recovery to check all is well, the patient will be allowed home. Like any other surgery, it is preferable that you have a friend or relative to escort you home and you are advised not to drive and keep undue pressure off the area. The compression stocking will be necessary for around two weeks and you must follow advice on how to bathe and you must not swim or get the legs wet during this recovery period. It is normal for the patient to feel a tightening sensation along the line of the treated vein and possibly some associated pain – but this can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs as prescribed.
The treatment is not designed as a ‘catch all´ solution for Varicose Veins, but purely to reduce the severity of their appearance. Further treatments in the form of Foam Sclerotherapy or avulsions to remove the dead vein tissue may well be required at a later date. Avulsions are done after a local anaesthetic is
injected around the vein with small incisions being made over the veins, before removing them surgically. These small incisions do heal with minimal scarring and with any post-operative problems being rare. However, it’s wise to discuss at length your pre or post-operative concerns with your aesthetic professional who will be happy to alleviate any fears that you may have.