The use of lasers or laser like devices to treat enlarged leg varicose veins has been a great advance in the field of vascular medicine and vein centers. While, in the old days, your grandmother many have needed vein stripping surgery with its risks of infection, nerve damage, general anesthesia, and permanent scarring up and down the leg, these are all things of the past. Thanks to dramatic improvements in the treatment of varicose veins in the last few years these drawbacks have all been eliminated, and patients are the biggest beneficiaries.
Dr. Martin L. Shulman M.D. says that the new procedures are known by a few similar names including Endo Venous Laser Therapy (or Treatment), Laser Ablation, and Intra Vascular Laser Therapy (or Treatment), but they all are based upon the same principals.
Painless Vein Removal
The procedure basically entails introducing a very thin laser fiber into the varicose veins to be treated by way of a small needle. With the patient lying on an exam table and fully awake, the fiber is advanced up towards the upper most part of the diseased vein. This is all done while “looking inside the leg” using ultrasound like that used on pregnant women. After the laser is positioned correctly, anesthesia just along the vein is then given. It only acts alongside the vein and never puts the leg or its muscles to sleep.
The actual firing of the laser takes just a few minutes as it is withdrawn from inside the vein and is totally painless. There is almost no blood loss whatsoever and ace bandage like dressing are put on the legs afterwards. At our New York City and Long Island vein centers all work in done on an outpatient basis using only local anesthesia. Dr. Lee G. Shulman M.D. likes to remind all potential laser treatment patients that even if their right leg is treated they are fully able to drive themselves home right afterwards.
Laser treatment patients are generally seen in follow up about one or two weeks after the procedure so an ultrasound can be done to check on the progress of the procedure.
Fortunately all the horror stories associated with “old fashioned” varicose vein stripping and ligation surgery have been eliminated and patients are more then delighted with the results of this new vein treatment method.