Using laser surgery varicose veins and the discomfort they cause can be significantly reduced or even eliminated. Called endovenous ablation, this treatment is minimally invasive and uses a laser to close large, tortuous veins in the lower leg. When the veins are closed, blood flow is diverted to healthy veins close by.
Varicose veins are caused by a number of things like standing or sitting for long periods of time, weakened valves in the lower leg, also known as a condition called venous insufficiency. Symptoms of venous insufficiency include; aching of the lower leg, edema, or swelling, sores called stasis ulcers or other skin problems like cellulitis, discoloration, or infection of the vein itself, called phlebitis.
Your doctor will use an ultrasound machine to locate and visualize the varicose vein and then a catheter will be inserted through a small opening in the skin into the vein. The laser is then directed into the vein and laser energy, or heat, is applied to the vein, causing it to close. The vein will shrink and be barely noticeable within a year of the procedure. The whole thing can be done in about an hour.
Laser surgery varicose veins is usually 100% effective in reducing or eliminating varicose veins and the discomfort they cause but in some cases more work may be needed if smaller veins continue to cause you problems. Some can get taken out using a procedure called phlebectomy or your doctor may choose to inject a liquid medication into them that will seal them off permanently. Either of these procedures will be performed after recovery of the original endovenous ablation procedure.
This procedure is performed by a board certified doctor called an Interventional Radiologist. An Interventional Radiologist specializes in minimally invasive treatments targeted to a specific area of the body, like varicose veins in the lower leg. Also known as image guided medicine, imagery from MRI, x-ray or CT scans is used to pinpoint the problem and figure out the least invasive way to solve it, fix it, or cure it.
Conditions that used to require full blown surgery can, today, be treated non-surgically by interventional radiologists on an outpatient basis. There is considerably less risk, less pain and less recovery time than with full blown surgery.
Since pricing of procedures depends on the procedure itself, talk to your doctor about what the procedure will cost. The cost of the procedure may be covered under your health insurance policy if your doctor has said it is medically necessary. Although most insurance providers will require you to participate in some therapy for three to six months before they will sign off on any surgery. Therapy includes wearing compression stockings, elevating your legs, getting regular exercise and losing weight.
If therapy is unsuccessful in relieving your pain, swelling, leg cramps, ulcers, and bleeding and an ultrasound scan confirms that you have venous insufficiency or reflux, then the insurance company should cover the laser surgery varicose veins procedure.