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How does endovenous laser treatment work?

This question was asked in Irvine, California and has 3 answer(s) as of 09/17/2012.
How does the endovenous laser treatment actually work?

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Doctors Answers (3)

The Endovenous laser treatment starts with applying a local anesthetic to the skin. This helps numb the area before the procedure begins. It is not necessary to sleep through the procedure because it is a minimally invasive option done under local anesthesia, like a dentist. After numbing the skin, a needle with the laser is then inserted into the vein and is guided by ultrasound to reach the abnormal veins. When the laser is in position, small pulses of laser energy are applied directly to the internal area of the veins. The heat from the laser causes the vein to seal up and stops further transport of blood along the vein. It takes around one half hour to complete the procedure. Potential rare complications include thermal skin burns, numbness and very rarely deep vein thrombosis.

A small fiber is threaded along the length of the saphenous vein below the surface and connected to a power supply (laser or radiofrequency). Local anesthesia is applied and the fiber is slowly withdrawn while energy is applied, "cauterizing" and sealing off the vein.

Since backward flow, or reflux, in the saphenous or other veins are usually considered the source causing the classic leg symptoms/ findings from vein problems , the goal of treatment is to close these problematic veins. One of the ways this can be done is with endovenous (inside the vein) laser. Using ultrasound to "see" what's going on, a laser catheter is inserted into the vein then threaded inside the vein into position. The laser is then activated and slowly pulled back to "melt" the inner vein walls together, essentially closing the vein. The vein then heals closed, the unhealthy backward flow stops and blood is re-routed to other veins.

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