08 Aug What To Expect From Endovenous Laser Treatment For Varicose Veins
More than 30 million adults between the ages of 18 to 70 are affected by varicose veins. The condition not only affects the appearance of the legs but can cause real circulatory problems as well. If untreated, varicose veins can cause pain, fatigue, burning, and swelling.
Restless legs, or the feeling of the need to move the legs, is a common symptom of varicose vein disease. Endovenous laser treatment or EVLA is a simple, minimally invasive laser treatment procedure that requires no complicated surgery or hospitalization and has become the preferred means of eliminating varicose veins and alleviating their symptoms.
What you can expect during the appointment
When people suffering from varicose vein disease come to Vivid Vascular, the first step is a consultation with Dr. Gropper and his staff. A complete history and physical exam are performed, and if there are signs or symptoms of varicose veins an ultrasound will be recommended to assess the location and severity of the problem.
An ultrasound of the superficial veins of the legs is a thorough, non-invasive test that maps out all the veins in the legs and takes about 45 minutes. It is important that the patient not have any caffeine-containing foods or beverages on the day of the ultrasound as caffeine can cause incorrect results. The ultrasound helps Dr. Gropper determine which veins need to be treated and how best to treat the problem. Once the ultrasound is completed, Dr. Gropper will explain the results and recommend a treatment plan that best fits the patient’s goals. The endovenous laser treatment is one of the options available.
Does my insurance cover Endovenous Laser Treatment?
Often, if there are symptoms such as pain, burning, restlessness, heaviness or swelling, health insurance will cover treatment for varicose veins and the endovenous laser treatment. The staff at Vivid Vascular will review the patient’s insurance benefits and explain the costs, if any, to the patient, and will request an approval from the insurance company. Depending on your insurance carrier, you may be required to undergo a period of therapy with compression stockings prior to insurance giving permission for the endovenous laser treatment. Compression stockings can be very helpful in reducing symptoms when worn, but unfortunately are only a “band-aid” rather than a treatment.
Before the procedure
There is very little patients need to do to prepare for the endovenous laser treatment procedure. No caffeine that day is pretty much it! Patients can eat and drink the morning of the procedure since there is no need for sedation. If a patient feels any anxiety about the procedure, valium can be prescribed beforehand and brought to the appointment.
During the procedure
It takes about 25 minutes to perform an endovenous laser ablation procedure. The day of your procedure, be sure to wear loose and comfortable clothing. If a patient takes valium for the procedure they should have someone drive them to/from the office.
When the patient arrives at the office, a topical numbing medication is applied to the skin and left on for about 30 minutes. Then the leg is cleaned and the procedure is performed. The procedure involves a few injections of local anesthetic and is otherwise painless.
During the procedure, a very thin laser fiber is placed inside the vein. The laser heats the vein wall and causes the vein to permanently collapse.
After the procedure
At the end of the treatment, some bandaging and a compression stocking will be applied to the treated leg. This stays in place for 48 hours. At that time, the bandaging can be removed however the compression stocking stays on for one full week after the procedure. Patients are instructed to avoid running for at least a week. Other, non-impact, exercises can be restarted at a light level after 4-5 days and gradually increased back to pre-procedure levels. Swimming, sitting in a bathtub or any other submersion of the treated leg should be avoided for 3 days.
A common misconception is that patients must rest after these procedures. To the contrary! Patients should do lots of walking and movement for the first 48 hours after the procedure. When idle, the leg should be elevated when possible. Advil is recommended to avoid post-procedure pain and minimize inflammation after the procedure.
A follow-up visit 2-7 days after the procedure is required to confirm the success of the procedure and schedule any further treatments such as sclerotherapy.