Are you putting off getting treatment for varicose veins? It may be because you’re only familiar with the pricey, uncomfortable, and often painful treatment from the earlier days of vein care: vein stripping. However, the science of vein care has come a long way! Our offices are proud to offer the latest in varicose vein treatments, and one of them is endovenous laser therapy. Find out how this treatment can transform your vein health.
Do You Have Varicose Veins?
Are you suffering from leg pain? Do your legs feel heavy, restless, or itchy? Do your veins appear to be large, dark, and swollen around your skin? If you said yes to these questions, you likely have varicose veins.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Your veins are tasked with maintaining proper blood circulation. But did you know that the veins in your legs have an additional challenge? The blood in your legs doesn’t flow downwards, but upwards, meaning that these veins are working against gravity to push the blood to the rest of your body. Over time, the vein valves in your legs can start to weaken or break down. Blood then pools, forming a varicose vein.
The First Step
First things first, it’s important that you make an appointment with one of our experienced, qualified professionals. After our vascular surgeons have assessed your venous health, they may recommend that the best next step for you is to receive endovenous laser treatment.
What Is Laser Therapy?
Endovenous laser therapy is a minimally invasive treatment that treats varicose veins without surgery. All it requires is local anesthesia! Rather than the painful, out-of-date approach where physicians literally stripped veins from the body, EVLT is completed using heat. A specialist uses ultrasound to locate the affected vein and then carefully inserts a small catheter into that vein. The heat is applied, which causes the vein to contract, collapse, and be sealed shut. This vein closure positively impacts your body’s blood flow! Because the heat closes varicose veins off from blood flow, the blood is forced to reroute to healthier veins, causing the varicose veins — and the uncomfortable symptoms they bring — to disappear. With a success rate of 90% or higher, this procedure is highly trusted.
Why Should I Treat My Varicose Veins?
By closing the affected vein, this helps to prevent varicose veins from developing into a more serious condition, such as blood clots or venous ulcers.
What to Do Beforehand
Two days before the procedure, our office will contact you with information about an arrival time. Over these two days, be sure that you are frequently checking your messages so you are able to arrive at the correct time.
On the day of the procedure, plan to eat a light breakfast, and make sure that your lunch does not include anything caffeinated; avoid drinks such as tea, coffee, or soda. Feel free to dress comfortably for your procedure! Don’t forget to wear open-toed shoes rather than tennis shoes, because your leg and foot will be wrapped in a compression bandage.
If you have been described any sort of pre-op medication, it’s crucial that you do not drive once you have taken them! Ask someone to drive you to your procedure. We ask that your driver, or another friend or family member if your driver is not able, stays in the office and waits for you throughout the entire procedure. You will be at our office for a total of 2-2 ½ hours, so rest assured that they won’t be waiting for you long!
What to Do Afterwards
After the procedure, you will be instructed to keep the compression bandage on for the following 48 hours. After those 48 hours, remove the bandage and take a warm shower — do not let the water get hot. Once your skin has completely dried, immediately put on your thigh-high compression stockings. You will continue to wear these for one week after receiving EVLT! However, you only need to keep them on during the daytime.
If you feel any sort of numbness, notice discoloration of your foot, or experience increased pain, remove the wrap; if this doesn’t resolve after removing the wrap, contact us. (You may also notice some swelling with a pink or bluish discoloration around your inner thighs. This is a normal part of the healing process and will resolve itself with time.) Mild to moderate discomfort post-procedure is very common and will not interfere with your ability to go right back to your regular life! You will take Ibuprofen 400 mg twice daily for a full week after EVLT, which helps both with the pain and inflammation. If you’re currently on coumadin or any anticoagulants, make sure to notify your vascular physician, and do not take the ibuprofen.
Getting Active Post-Procedure
For that first week after EVLT, we recommend that you do not sit or stand for long periods of time. Avoid flying or car trips longer than one hour, and avoid strenuous exercises such as aerobics, weight training, or running for two weeks. After one week, you are welcome to resume treadmill exercise and taking hot baths and showers. Take 20 minute walks twice daily for at least one week, and elevate your legs a minimum of at least 10 minutes, 3 times daily for the first 7 days after the EVLT.
Some patients report seeing results as early as one week, with the full effects coming within months.
Will I Have to Take Time Off Work?
Patients experience minimal downtime from EVLT and can often go right back into their normal, day-to-day life. You can walk immediately after the procedure, and patients typically return to the work the following day!
The best vascular surgeons in Orlando are dedicated to your venous health. Our experienced team of Board Certified Fellowship Trained Vascular Surgeons provide patients of all ages with the most advanced, minimally invasive treatments. If you have any questions about vein health or available treatments, we recommend scheduling a consultation with one of our physicians to learn what’s best for you! Contact us today at 407-545-3385 or 352-658-5547.