What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins can often be distinguished by their distinctive blue color and bulging appearance under the skin. They normally develop in the legs. One way valves are supposed to keep the blood flowing up toward the heart against the force of gravity, but with varicose veins – this isn’t the case. The valves become weak and do not close properly, allowing blood to flow backwards and pool in the veins. The increased pressure caused by pooling stretches the vein, enlarging it, and twisting the blood vessels. This is what creates the bumpy, rope-like appearance of your veins.
There are a series of factors that can trigger the onset of varicose veins including prolonged standing, hormones, pregnancy, obesity, aging, or menopause. Varicose veins are hereditary. Normally, they are found in women, but almost anyone can develop them.
Symptoms include (but are not limited to):
• Bumpy, rope looking veins beneath the skin
• Burning sensation around the affected tissue
• Skin discoloration
• Blood clotting
In some cases, vein disorders are not visible at the skins' surface. Many patients have reported experiencing symptoms of varicose veins without the appearance. After the initial screen, doctors will recommend additional testing based off of your results. In most cases, this will be a diagnostic ultrasound that is designed to evaluate the blood flow through your veins to determine the severity of the disease and best path of treatment.
Laurel Highlands Vein Center provides a range of varicose vein treatments including; VenaCure EVLT™ (Endovenous Laser Treatment), Microphlebectomy, and Sclerotherapy. Depending on severity and extent of the varicose veins, overall health, and risk factors, a personal treatment plan will be created for you. Treatment plans can range from a single treatment to a series of treatments using multiple therapies.
Endovenous Laser therapy, simply known as EVLT, is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat unsightly or painful varicose veins of the lower extremities. EVLT is a better alternative to the painful lengthy ligation and stripping procedure. EVLT is a fast, safe, and effective procedure that allows patients to proudly show-off their beautiful legs and improves their quality of life. This simple procedure is performed as an outpatient in a quiet setting under IV sedation for the patient’s ultimate comfort.
EVLT is a highly effective procedure that eliminates large, painful varicose veins. This minimally invasive procedure uses ultrasound guidance to create just the right amount of heat to shrink the vein. After the vein shrinks, the body automatically routes the blood through other healthy veins.
The EVLT procedure takes about an hour to perform. After the procedure, a cotton wrap and elastic bandage is worn for the next 24 hours. Once this is removed, the patient may shower and then is instructed to wear a prescription strength compression hose during the day only for 2 weeks. Most patients are able to resume their normal activities immediately after the EVLT procedure.
Micro phlebectomy is a minimally invasive procedure used to remove varicose veins just under the surface of the skin of the legs through tiny needle punctures. Phlebectomy is less invasive than surgery based on the reduction in anesthesia and small puncture size. After the procedure, a cotton wrap and elastic bandage is worn for the next 24 hours. Once this is removed, the patient may shower and then is instructed to wear a prescription strength compression stocking during the day only for the next two weeks.
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Following varicose vein treatments, the leg must be supported for the veins to heal properly. This is accomplished by wearing compression bandages or graduated support stockings. These stockings look like tall socks and cause minimal discomfort.
How is a laser procedure different from surgery?
Surgery involves considerable preparation, general anesthesia, the risk of infection, pain in the affected areas, and a lengthy recovery period.
The medical laser technology used in EVLT eliminates all of that.
It’s "minimally invasive." The entry point through which your physician gets the laser fiber to the target area is extremely small, not even requiring stitches.
There is really no "recovery" to speak of. In fact, you’ll be up and walking as soon as it's over, able to return to normal activity quickly.
The risk of infection is extremely low.
I’ve heard about lasers being used in medicine but I’m not sure how they work. Are they safe?
Simply put, a laser is a highly concentrated beam of light. Medical lasers work by delivering this light energy to the targeted tissue with extreme precision so as not to affect the surrounding tissue. They’ve proven their safety and effectiveness through years of use in all kinds of medical procedures, from ophthalmology to dermatology. In the hands of a skilled physician, lasers offer far less risk and complications than conventional surgery.
How long will the results last?
You should experience no reoccurrence in the veins that have been treated. Follow-up procedures may be desired to obtain optimal aesthetic results.
How long after the procedure will I see the results?
There may be some slight swelling right after the procedure, but you could start seeing results immediately.