Laser Treatment for Varicose Veins


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Lasers can be used to remove varicose veins without invasive surgery. It works by heating the walls of the varicose veins, which causes them to die. The body then removes the dead veins and the varicose veins are gone.

Endovenous Laser Ablation

Endovenous laser ablation is a simple way of treating varicose veins. The procedure uses a laser to heat the veins, which causes them to die. The veins will be explored using an ultrasound scan allowing the surgeon to highlight which veins need to be removed. A local anaesthetic will be applied to the skin before a needle is placed into the vein. A wire is run through the needle and the needle is then replaced by a catheter through which the wire is removed. A laser- emitting filament is then put through the catheter into the vein at which point more anaesthetic will be injected. The laser will be switched on and will function for around five minutes burning the vein. Due to the anaesthetic, the treatment will be pain- free, although you may experience discomfort caused by a burning smell or taste.

After Treatment with an Endovenous Laser

Once the treatment is finished, (treatment normally lasts for up to half an hour per leg) you can go home. You will need to wear compression socks for up to two weeks and should follow the advice given on driving and how to wash the area. You will be able to return to your normal life straight away but will have to keep your legs dry for the two weeks that you wear the compression socks. You may experience mild pain about five days after treatment and can take prescription painkillers if necessary.

Complications with Endovenous Laser Ablation

There are some rare complications, which are associated with endovenous laser ablation. You may feel some tenderness and hardness in the vein treated, this is a normal part of the treatment and is caused by the swelling of the vein wall. The vein may also cause lumps, which are harmless blood clots and will naturally disappear within a few weeks.

Nerve damage may be caused if the laser affects the nerves beside the treated vein. This can cause numbness in the skin, which should sort itself out after a few months when the nerves repair themselves.

The most serious complication associated with endovenous laser ablation is deep vein thrombosis. This is a risk of any surgery and can be life threatening if the clot reaches the lungs or heart. Symptoms of deep vein thrombosis include:

  • Pain, tenderness, and swelling in the treated leg
  • Aching and heaviness in the treated leg
  • Warm skin at the site of the clot
  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Breathlessness
  • Chest pain
  • Collapsing

If you experience any of these symptoms after endovenous laser ablation, you should seek immediate medical help.


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