Endovenous ablation is the technique of harnessing technological advancements to get rid of damaged veins by performing minor surgery from within inside the vein. The results are cosmetically much better than vein stripping (surgically cutting the vein out). These minor surgeries allow people to carry on with normal daily activities sparing just a couple of hours for the procedure.
Although at MD Vein & Skin we perform them in our accredited ambulatory surgery center, most physicians safely perform these procedures in their regular physician offices. Endovenous ablation has revolutionized vein treatment and has largely replaced vein stripping in most circumstances. Endovenous thermal ablation uses heat to damage the inside lining of the vein thereby causing it to close shut. At our facility we use lasers but this can also be achieved using radofrequency technology. Patients who are told that they need a vein stripping procedure should consider seeking a second opinion from a vein specialist experienced in these newer techniques. We have this expertise.
How it works
During the endovenous laser ablation procedure, a laser fiber is activated inside and pulled back along the length of the faulty vein. The laser energy damages the vein walls, shrinking them closed so that blood can no longer flow through.
If you experience leg pain, cramping, leg or ankle swelling, burning or itching of the skin and/or a “heavy feeling” in your legs, you may have chronic venous disease which commonly manifests as varicose veins but these are not always be easily visible. You may be a candidate for endovenous ablation. In addition, if you have previously been diagnosed with varicose veins, venous insufficiency or venous reflux and have tried other treatments (stripping, sclerotherapy, or compression) you owe it to yourself to explore what other treatments MD Vein & Skin Specialists can offer.
What to Expect
Endovenous laser ablation (or EVLT) is a quick procedure that is performed on an outpatient basis. Using ultrasound, the physician will position the procedure catheter into the diseased vein through a small opening in the skin. A tiny laser fiber is then passed through the catheter. The fiber delivers laser energy to the vein wall. As the laser energy is delivered and the catheter is withdrawn, the vein wall is heated, causing the collagen in the wall to shrink and the vein to close. Once the diseased vein is closed, blood is re-routed to other healthy veins.
Following the endovenous ablation procedure, you can expect to be back to work the same day and resuming many of your normal activities. A bandage is placed over the insertion site and compression stockings are worn to aid healing. We require you to walk immediately following the procedure and refrain from extended standing and strenuous activities for a period of time.
Clinical data with up to five years of follow-up show endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) success rates of 95-98%. This is much higher than surgical ligation and stripping and other varicose vein treatments. Endovenous vein ablation has become the new ‘gold standard’ for treating chronic venous reflux.
Cost & Insurance
Most health insurance providers, including Medicare, will cover the cost of endovenous ablation for the treatment of varicose veins, when medically necessary. At MD Vein & Skin, we accept most major insurance providers including Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Healthcare, Cigna, Aetna, Medicare, Tricare and more. To find out if we accept your health insurance provider, please call the office. Or ask when you schedule your free vein assessment.