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As a minimally invasive procedure, endovenous laser therapy is performed to treat varicose veins, which develop in approximately 25% of adults. This ultrasound-guided procedure involving the use of laser energy precisely targets the problematic segment of the vein without harming adjacent tissue. During endovenous laser therapy, a thin optical fiber is threaded through the varicose vein, which will deliver laser light in the infrared portion of the spectrum to it. Because laser energy causes the vein to contract, it will eventually close and seal shut. Subsequently, blood will find alternative routes to flow through the leg, as only superficial veins which carry less than 5% of the entire amount of blood in the body tend to become varicose.
Endovenous laser therapy is a simple procedure which requires no general anesthesia. Instead, dilute local anesthesia is injected along and around the vein which needs treatment with the use of ultrasound guidance.
Endovenous laser therapy can effectively treat nearly all types of varicose veins. While the procedure is mostly undergone by people with large, bulging varicose veins which cause distressing symptoms such as pain, swelling, or ulcers, it can also be employed for cosmetic reason. Opting for endovenous laser therapy is also highly recommended when one of the large, deep veins in the leg – medically known as saphenous veins – is affected by a chronic venous disorder, which often ensues as a consequence of venous hypertension. The most common chronic venous disorders for which endovenous laser therapy is generally a beneficial procedure include:
However, endovenous laser therapy cannot treat varicose veins which are twisted. A more invasive surgical approach such as stab phlebectomy or endoscopic vein surgery is usually more successful in these cases.
People who undergo endovenous laser therapy can resume their usual activities immediately after the procedure. They can safely walk without aid within 30-60 minutes following endovenous laser therapy and are strongly encouraged to do so. Walking for at least one hour every day is also highly recommended for the next 2 weeks, whereas strenuous activities such as running, heavy lifting, or jumping are contraindicated during this period of time. Taking hot baths is also ill-advised. To minimize postoperative symptoms and prevent complications, patients should wear compression stockings or use another form of compression on their legs throughout recovery.