Varicose veins can now be treated entirely under local anaesthetic with no surgical incisions using a technique called endovenous laser treatment (EVLT). EVLT uses a tiny laser which heats the vein from the inside and seals it closed. The procedure is minimally invasive and has now become the treatment of choice for many leading specialist varicose vein surgeons. EVLT is usually performed as a day case procedure, with the procedure itself lasting as little as 20 minutes. Patients can usually walk around immediately after the procedure, too. Statistics show that the risk of the condition reoccurring is reduced from 30% to around 5% using EVLT.
- No scarring
- No surgical incision in the groin
- Less bruising
- Faster recovery
- Can be done under local anaesthetic
- No overnight hospital stay needed
- Lower recurrence of varicose veins
Before your procedure you will be asked to change into a gown. The varicose veins to be treated will be marked by the surgeon and should you have any further queries you can discuss these with the surgeon. You will be provided with protective eyes glasses during the procedure as a laser is used in the treatment.
The thigh vein is accessed through a tiny incision (2mm) just above the knee. The laser fibre is passed into the vein and positioned in the correct place with guidance from an ultrasound probe.
Local anaesthetic is injected around the vein before the laser is used. When the laser is turned on, the fibre is slowly withdrawn down the leg. As the fibre is withdrawn, the laser energy burns the inside of the vein, sealing it from the inside.
A compression bandage is then applied to the leg before the patient goes home and you will be advised to keep it on for five days You may experience some bruising and soreness in the treated leg for 7-14 days after your procedure.
It is advisable to keep the treated area dry and avoid hot baths. You should be able to return to normal activities immediately . If you notice any increase in pain, swelling, inflammation or discharge from the wound you should contact Benenden Hospital or your GP.
After the procedure you may feel some tightness in your legs, and the affected areas may be bruised and painful. Complications include phlebitis (inflammation of the vein) which is seen in about 10% of patients. Slight skin burning can also occur. Initial discomfort and bruising is seen in about 5% of patients.
If the varicose vein is at an early stage, topical treatments and a change of lifestyle, such as walking 20 minutes a day and avoiding sitting or standing for long periods may slow its development. Wearing light support stockings can also help.