Endovenous laser therapy is a minimally-invasive method for the treatment of varicose veins. As opposed to vein stripping, surgical incisions in the groin or the back of the knee are not required with this approach. Using ultrasound guidance, a laser catheter is inserted through a puncture into the vein until it reaches the area to be treated. The laser radiation heats the interior wall of the vein to approx. 70 degrees Celsius, and purposefully damages it. The treated vein is immediately closed following the procedure, thus eliminating the backflow of venous blood (reflux). At first, the closed vein hardens. After a few months, it has completely receded and is broken down by the body or turned into connective tissue.
Laser ablation is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. In severe cases involving bot legs, the procedure can also be performed on an inpatient basis with short-term full sedation or tumescent local anesthesia. Normally, the patient can resume regular activities 1 – 2 days following the intervention. Athletic activities can be resumed approx. one week after the procedure. Compression stockings should be worn for approx. 2 – 3 weeks after the procedure to reduce bruising and swelling in the legs.
Other advantages of this method over the invasive stripping procedure includes the excellent cosmetic results that are achieved due to the lack of incisions.