• Endovenous laser treatment allows patients to return home same day
Nearly 20 percent of adults develop varicose veins, which can be painful, unsightly and potentially dangerous. But a new treatment being offered at Newport Hospital treats varicose veins through a non-surgical laser technique that can be done on an outpatient basis.
Called endovenous laser treatment, or EVLT, this treatment option uses targeted laser energy to seal the vein shut. The procedure is virtually painless and can be completed in about an hour. Most patients are able to resume normal activities immediately.
“Traditionally, people have associated the removal of varicose veins as a painful procedure that would keep them off their feet for some time and leave significant scarring,” said David Card, RT, manager of diagnostic imaging at Newport Hospital. “But with laser treatments, such as EVLT, patients experience considerably less pain and may return to normal activities more quickly.”
Varicose veins are caused by weakened valves and veins in the legs. One-way valves in veins function to keep blood flowing from the legs up toward the heart. But, when these valves malfunction, blood pools in the veins, causing an increased pressure that can make the veins bulge and twist.
Often, patients with varicose veins will complain of leg symptoms such as pain, heaviness or tiredness, burning or tingling sensations, swelling or throbbing or tender areas around the affected veins. Left untreated, these veins can cause serious conditions including inflammation or phlebitis, blood clots, hyperpigmentation, ankle sores or skin ulcers, and bleeding.
EVLT, which is done under local anesthesia, involves a physician inserting a thin laser fiber into the vein through a very small entry point. The laser light that is used seals the faulty vein. The entire procedure takes about one hour, and depending on the severity of each patient’s condition, may be covered by insurance.
According to Card, EVLT is a minimally invasive alternative to surgical vein stripping, which often leaves patients with considerable pain and scarring. “It is now the standard for treating varicose veins because of its many benefits for patients,” said Card. “And here at Newport Hospital, all EVLT procedures are done by a board-certified interventional radiologist who is specially trained in this procedure.”
For more information, please call Newport Hospital at (401) 845-1389 or visit www.newporthospital.org/Varicose-Vein-Laser-Treatment.html.