Varicose Vein Treatment
What is it?
Varicose veins are painful, enlarged veins, usually appearing on your legs. Symptoms for people with large varicose veins may include leg fatigue, swelling and pain. In a laser ablation treatment, laser energy is used to cauterize (burn) and close the vein which causes the superficial varicose veins.
How is it done?
Ablation uses a catheter, or small tube, that is inserted through a nick in the skin. The laser energy is delivered through the catheter, and the vein is heated and sealed. Only local anesthesia is required. The procedure only lasts half an hour and requires only a small incision to be made. Depending on the severity of the varicose veins, treatment may be performed on each leg at separate appointments.
In some cases of varicose veins that require treatment, doctors will perform a phlebectomy, in which a large surface vein is removed through several tiny incisions on your skin. Sometimes this is performed in the same setting as laser ablation. Regardless, a patient is able to return home the day of the procedure.
What are the risk?
Laser ablation carries few risks or serious side effects, but some patients report temporary discoloration, bruising or mild swelling at the treatment site. Deep venous thrombosis can occur after the procedure, but rarely happens. Phlebectomy is a more invasive procedure and poses a small risk of bleeding.