Endovenous Laser Ablation
What is Endovenous Laser Treatment (ELT)?
Endovenous Laser Treatment (ELT) is a minimally invasive ultrasound-guided method for treating varicose veins using laser energy. The laser energy is delivered through a fine optical fiber that is inserted into the underlying abnormal vein. This in-office treatment is performed with only local anesthesia and can bring rapid improvement of any symptoms associated with varicose veins or venous insufficiency. The goal of ELT is to treat the underlying abnormal vein(s) with the broken valves. The laser energy heats the vein at the tip of the optical fiber, causing the abnormal vein to close. Blood is routed to the normal functioning veins. With time the abnormal vein, treated by ELT, is broken down and resorbed by the body. The procedure takes less than one hour and you are able to walk out and resume most of your normal daily activities.
What are the Advantages of ELT?
- No vein stripping – No surgery!
- It is an in-office procedure – No hospitalization!
- Walk in and walk out in about an hour!
- A nearly pain-free procedure
- Only requires local anesthesia
- No scalpels, no incisions, and no unsightly scars
- Immediate return to most normal activities
- ELT has a 98% success rate
- Rapid recovery with minimal post-procedure pain
- The procedure is covered by most medical insurance
What Should I Expect with ELT?
The first step in the evaluation of varicose veins or symptoms suggestive of venous insufficiency is to schedule a medical consultation with Tennessee Vein Center. As part of the consultation, we will determine if full evaluation with duplex venous ultrasound and venous mapping is appropriate and if you are a candidate for ELT. Most insurers require a documented trial of conservative treatment prior to approving the ELT procedure. As part of the evaluation, you will be measured for or prescribed medical-grade compression hose.
On the day of the procedure, you should:
- Avoid the use of lotion on the legs
- Wear or bring a pair of loose-fitting shorts (We can provide disposable shorts if needed)
- Bring your compression hose
- Drink plenty of water on the day of treatment
- Remember it is fine to eat on the day of the procedure, but you may want to avoid eating a heavy meal just prior to treatment and you may want to consider a light snack if it has been several hours since you last ate.
What Should I Expect After ELT?
- Immediately after the procedure, you will be asked to put on your compression hose and walk or cycle for 10 minutes.
- It is important for you to wear your medical-grade compression hose for 7-10 days after the procedure. Compression hose help your circulation and serve to reduce swelling, reduce inflammation, reduce complications, and speed healing.
- During this healing process walking and normal daily activities are strongly encouraged.
- Complications from ELT are extremely rare.
- Bruising, minor soreness, and a feeling of tightness are normal and will pass.
- If needed, the mild discomfort can be relieved by an over the counter pain reliever.
- A follow-up ultrasound will be scheduled.
- Extremely strenuous activities should be avoided for a few days after the procedure.
ELT treats the source of varicose veins and takes the pressure off of the visible varicose veins, allowing sclerotherapy treatment to be much more effective. Most patients will require sclerotherapy treatments to comprehensively address the entire problem.