Varicose veins, also known as varicoses, represent a problem in the superficial vein system of the lower legs. It is a condition that is sometimes referred to as a lifestyle disease. However, it may be caused by a variety of factors, including family history, hormonal changes, lifestyle in general, lack of physical activity, obesity and sitting and standing for long periods of time. This condition affects mostly women. For many of them, it is a cosmetic concern. For others it may become a medical complaint.
How do varicose veins develop?
The valves in your veins may get damaged, and the veins stretch and twist, as their walls become weaker and work improperly. Such veins appear twisted.
Types of varicose veins
Spider veins-small reddish veins, spread like a spider web, diameter around 1 mm, they often present cosmetic concern only
Reticular varicose veins-blue veins, diameter around 2-3mm
Saphenous varicose veins are large veins (diameter: 10 mm or more) that swell larger than their size and bulge out from the skin. Eventually, they may lead to more serious skin conditions and ulcers.
As the symptoms develop gradually, the mild variation of them is just a cosmetic concern. At later stages, veins cause pain in the legs, swelling and become very noticeable. If left untreated, varicose veins may lead to serious skin conditions, ulcers and deep vein thrombosis
Laser treatment of varicose veins
It is a modern and efficient type of treatment, replacing the classic open surgery to treat varicose veins in the legs. Damaged veins are not surgically removed, they are treated with thermal energy instead using laser pulses. This results in closure of the treated veins.
At our centre, patients are treated with newly installed EVLA (endovenous laser ablation) laser technology. The laser emits pulses at 1470 nm with radial fibre. The 1470 nm wavelength allows for the vein wall to absorb thermal energy smoothly, enabling treatment of veins with a large diameter. Due to lower temperature of the laser tip, no thermal damage of the adjacent tissue occurs. This method has minimal complications and does not cause any pain after treatment.
If you are interested in having EVLA treatment, please enquire at our centre for your options.
What needs to be done before EVLA procedure?
Before the procedure, your GP needs to complete pre-operative exam. Blood coagulation test is necessary too.
What happens during the procedure?
The procedure is carried out as an outpatient. It requires local anaesthesia and takes only a few minutes. Through a small puncture, a very thin ultrasound-guided laser catheter is inserted into the vein. Thermal energy of the laser causes the vein to shrink and close up. After the treatment, compression stocking must be worn.
What happens after the procedure?
A short time after the procedure patients may leave the surgery with a person who takes them home. You should generally take rest after the procedure, but you are encouraged to walk a few times. There may be some bruising after the procedure. You should feel minimum pain. However, on the third day after the surgery you may feel some pain in the veins that should go away in the next couple of days.
How long is the recovery after EVLA?
You can walk and you may return to your daily activities one day after the procedure. Within two weeks, you may resume your sports activities.
Benefits of EVLA compared to classic veins surgery
minimum or no pain after the procedure
much shorter recovery period (a few days only) compared to 3 to 5 weeks off-work after classic vein surgery
no thermal burns, no bleeding
great cosmetic effect, no scars
no skin changes, no risk of hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation