EVLA is a safe and simple treatment for varicosities, with a much higher success rate and a lot fewer complications than surgery. The procedure itself can be accomplished within 1 to 2 hours, with no further need for hospitalization. Only local anesthesia is applied and mild, post-operative pain and bruising can be relieved with over-the-counter medications. There is also no need to skip on your daily activities. Most patients are encouraged to move and resume walking shortly after the procedure to encourage the return of normal blood flow and faster healing.
Varicosities are abnormally distended and swollen veins that appear as twisted, bluish-purple cords just under the skin. They usually emerge on the lower extremities which include the ankles, legs, and feet. Derived from the Latin word 'varix', these large patches of distorted veins are noticeable and quite unappealing. Varicosities are often a source of embarrassment for those who suffer from it. Moreover, they can also cause pain and discomfort and affect a person's quality of life.
Because aging causes our veins to lose strength and elasticity, it is considered a major factor in developing varicosities. However, it can also happen to young and healthy individuals. Other predisposing factors include gender, pregnancy, genetics, obesity, and overall activities (standing/sitting for long periods).
While usually appearing on the lower extremities, varicosities can also find their way to other parts of the body. Although symptoms are often mild and not life-threatening, this can progress to a chronic condition with serious complications if left untreated.
Varicosities happen when there is a prolonged increase in pressure within the veins. Because blood is carried towards the heart through one-way valves in the veins, any damage or blockage in these valves can cause blood to pool and increase the pressure within the veins. Sitting or standing for extended periods may also cause blood to pool in the lower extremities, thus adding unnecessary pressure to the veins. This causes the veins to dilate, enlarge, and appear twisted. Moreover, blood may also leak to smaller surrounding superficial veins, resulting to having ' spider veins, which are just smaller versions of varicosities.
While the common goal for many patients undergoing varicose vein treatment is to improve their appearance, many surgeries are also done to relieve symptoms and avoid future complications.
Some of these symptoms include:
$590 to $2,900
Nowadays, the most preferred method of treating varicosities is through EVLA ( Endovenous Laser Ablation). This is a non-surgical way of removing varicosities by inserting a laser frame into the abnormal vein through a tiny incision.
The procedure is quite simple. After the physician identifies and assesses the veins to be treated, local anesthesia is used to numb the affected area. A tiny catheter is then inserted into the vein through a small needle. With the guidance of an ultrasound machine, a laser fiber is introduced to the affected vein. The fiber is then gradually activated and carefully withdrawn, which allows the laser to destroy the vein wall, shrinking it while closing the incompetent vein so that blood can no longer flow through it. The body then reabsorbs the damaged tissues.
The physician will require a full evaluation of your health status before treatment. This includes physical and laboratory tests to ensure that you are fit to undergo the procedure. A Doppler ultrasound is especially important to detect your blood flow and to know whether your valves are in excellent condition.
A Duplex Ultrasound is another necessary diagnostic procedure to examine the speed of blood flowing in your deep veins and the structure of those veins in your legs. It uses high-frequency sound waves and is one of the most important medical tools in evaluating the overall condition of arteries and veins.
Since EVLA is a minimally invasive procedure that is done only through a very small needle puncture, it requires only local anesthesia and can be done on an outpatient basis. There is no need for hospital confinement and patients can immediately resume normal daily activities, although strenuous work is not advised for at least a week after the procedure. Post-treatment pain and discomfort are generally well tolerated and can be relieved with over-the-counter pain medications. Slight bruising is also expected to resolve in a few weeks.
We understand you may want to change your plans due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its health implications.
Like any other medical procedures, there is always a small possibility of complications. Although rare, a patient must be also well aware of these:
What are the risk factors for varicose veins?
What are the Signs and Symptoms of varicose veins?
What is the recovery after the procedure?
After an EVLA procedure, a patient may go home 1-2 hours after treatment. A protective stocking must be worn for 1-2 weeks, but only during the day. This may be replaced at night and cleaned. Patients are encouraged to walk around immediately after the procedure, to ensure good blood circulation on the extremities and encourage faster recovery. The patient may feel some mild to moderate pain along the treatment area, which can be relieved with over-the-counter pain medications. Bruising and purple discoloration of the extremities is expected and should go away in a week or so.
During the recovery period, the patient is allowed to do some exercises and gradually return to their daily activities. Daily walks are encouraged, but strenuous activities should be avoided during the recovery phase. Because discomfort and pain from feeling a tightening sensation on the affected vein may happen a few days after the surgery, patients are also advised to take a week off from work for rest.
Patients who have been suffering from pain and discomfort from varicosities before surgery should expect these symptoms to subside and resolve after the EVLA treatment. After the recovery period, it is expected that these symptoms would have fully diminished.
Will EVLA leave me with scars and bruising?
Since EVLA is done through a very small incision, it is unlikely that you will develop any scar after the procedure. Some bruising and discoloration of the skin are expected, but will normally resolve in a few weeks.