For varicose veins of the legs the traditional treatment was surgery, which is still carried out. The problem with surgery is that it’s quite an extensive operation; there are side effects and risks associated with it. The biggest problem is that there is a good chance of recurrence, that these veins will come back again.
Newer techniques have been developed over the last decade or so the commonest of these is Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA/EVLT). Instead of stripping the veins physically out of the body which happens in surgery, Endogenous Laser Ablation destroys the veins where they actually are.
Slowly over time the ablated vein becomes very tiny cord- like from which no blood flows – virtual removal of the diseased vein. Also this is a much more gentle technique compared to surgery which does not involve any general anesthetic and it is carried out in most cases as an outpatient, walk in-walk out procedure.
In the EVLT procedure a needle is inserted in the vein we want to destroy, pass a laser fibre through that needle into and along the vein. We use a little bit of local anaesthetic, in the tissues surrounding the vein, which is called tumescent anesthesia. This also prevents the laser heat and light hurting the surrounding tissues.
This technique is now probably the most common non-surgical technique for dealing with varicose veins and this is because it is the most simple, most effective, and cheapest way of dealing with the problem. It also is quicker, safer, and also has less chances of recurrence than surgery.
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