Endovenous Laser Therapy
for Varicose Veins
• No surgical incisions
• Immediate ambulation
• No hospitalization
About Varicose Veins
Q: What are varicose veins?
A: Varicose veins are the large, “rope-like” veins which are often one-quarter inch or larger in diameter.
Q: What causes varicose veins?
A: Varicose veins occur when the vein is not functioning properly to return blood from the lower leg to the heart. Each vein has a series of valves that open to allow the flow of blood to the heart, and close to prevent backflow (otherwise known as “reflux”) of blood back into the foot. The walls and valves of veins are thin and elastic, and can stretch due to a variety of conditions including pregnancy, heredity and age.
Q: How common are varicose veins?
A: Approximately half of the population has some form of
venous disease, and varicose veins affect about one out
of two people age 50 and older, and 15-25% of all adults.
Q: Is the loss of the vein a problem?
A: No. Because there are many veins in the leg, the blood that
would have flowed through the closed vein simply flows
through other healthy veins after the laser therapy.
Q: Is endovenous laser therapy painful?
A: Although individual responses vary, most people report
little to no pain associated with endovenous laser therapy.
Often the only sensation is felt during the delivery of
anesthetic to the leg. After the procedure you may feel
some tenderness, tingling, itching or tightness in the
treated leg, which should disappear within a month.
Q: How can I get more information on varicose veins?
A: More information on the causes and treatments of varicose
veins can be found at www.treatveins.com. As always, for
information on your specific condition, ask your physician.
Q: How does endovenous laser therapy work?
A: Previously, treatment of painful, swollen varicose veins
required a surgical procedure called vein stripping, where
the vein was completely removed from the leg. More
recently, endovenous laser therapy has been developed
to treat chronic venous insufficiency by delivering laser
energy through a small puncture in the leg to close the
With endovenous laser therapy, no surgery is required, and
the entire procedure can be performed in less than one
hour in your physician’s office. During the procedure, you
are awake and your leg is anesthetized. A thin laser fiber
is inserted into the greater saphenous vein in your thigh.
Your physician then will deliver laser energy through the
fiber and into the vein, causing the vein to close.
Q: Why is the laser fiber placed in the thigh, when the varicose veins are located below the knee?
A: Bulging varicose veins in the lower leg usually are caused
by a faulty valve located higher in the leg that can’t be seen
at the surface. The endovenous laser therapy treats the
source of the problem, which then causes the varicose vein
in the lower leg to shrink and disappear.
Q: What should I do after the procedure?
A: After endovenous laser therapy, a gauze pad and tape will be placed over the puncture site and a compression stocking or compression bandage will be placed on your leg. You are encouraged to immediately walk following the procedure and resume normal activities. However, during the two weeks following your procedure you should avoid swimming, vigorous gym workouts, hot baths or excessive sun.
Your physician will provide customized instructions for
you to observe following your endovenous laser therapy,
including how long to wear a compression stocking. If you
have any questions, ask your physician.
Q: What should I expect after the procedure?
A: You should expect to see some bruising along the
treatment site as the vein disappears, which is normal and
should gradually go away within a month. You also may
feel some tenderness, tingling, itching or tightness in your
treated leg during the two weeks following the procedure.
If you experience significant pain, or have bleeding of the
treated leg, contact your physician promptly.