West Medical: How can a laser fix a vein?
Written By: Emma Squillace
Decades ago, people who wanted varicose vein treated had few choices. The treatments were invasive and painful. Today, the landscape of vein treatment is substantially improved. At West Medical, our patients have a wide range of vein treatments including minimally invasive and non invasive options that are quick and comfortable.
One particularly popular option is called Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT), or ‘laser vein removal’. You may have heard about the use of lasers for cosmetic treatments such as hair removal or creating a more even skin tone. But do you know how a laser can treat a vein? Today we’ll show you how it works, and why it’s a top choice for some of our vein patients.
What is a laser?
The lasers, including those we use in medical treatment, are devices that focus light sources to do very precise, careful work. The word “laser” is short for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. The light that comes from a laser is somewhat similar to a light from a lightbulb, except that it’s a single wavelength of light that gets focused into a very narrow beam. This makes the laser beam intense and effective. Laser light allows us to cut tissue without a knife, and makes minimally invasive procedures much easier.
How can a laser fix a varicose vein?
When we perform laser vein treatment, we direct a tiny but strong laser beam directly inside the varicose vein. The heat from this laser is so concentrated that it is able to close the portion of the vein that is compromised. Since this piece of the vein is closed for good, it is removed from your circulation system. The surrounding veins take over, and patients have improved blood flow without the symptoms from their varicose vein.
What does the laser feel like?
Laser treatment is generally painless, and only requires a small amount of local anesthesia. The laser we use is a top medical device considered the gold standard in laser vein treatment. It allows for less pain, less bruising, and increased chance of long term success.
How is laser vein removal performed?
When you come to us for laser vein treatment, first we will numb the area we’re treating. We’ll then use a thin catheter to insert a very small laser fiber into the area with the varicose vein. Using ultrasound, we’ll place the fiber right inside the diseased vein. Next we use local anesthetic to numb the area inside the vein where we will use the laser. This ensures a comfortable procedure, and also provides protection to the surrounding tissue. Finally, the laser is activated, and the heat from the beam permanently closes the varicose portion of the vein.
What is the recovery process after laser varicose vein treatment?
Often patients find they are able to resume normal activities right after treatment. It’s normal to experience some bruising and/or numbness after treatment, and this generally subsides over time. We will ask you to refrain from strenuous activity like jogging while you recover. Patients generally do not need prescription pain medication after laser vein treatment. After your procedure we will give you tips for easing any discomfort, and steps to take in order to promote healing.
Will insurance cover laser varicose veins treatment?
In many cases, insurance does cover vein treatment because varicose veins are often medical issues. If you have symptoms like heavy, cramping legs, itching, or ulcers, you may be eligible to have your laser or other vein treatment covered by insurance.
If you have visible varicose veins or are having symptoms, give West Medical a call. Remember a varicose vein cannot be cured without medical treatment, so if you have heavy, aching legs, itchy skin that will not heal, or visible veins in your legs, varicose vein treatment may be a good option for you. Our expert vein team can answer your questions about laser vein treatment, as well as our other options. We can be reached at (855) 690-0565.