What Is… Endovenous Laser Ablation Therapy?

A graphic with a catheter which is used in EVLT.

Varicose veins are more than just an eyesore. Sometimes they hurt and make everyday life uncomfortable. EVLT is a procedure that closes varicose veins, restoring proper circulation and causing the twisted, bulging veins to disappear over the course of a few weeks.

What Does EVLT Treat?

EVLT is used to treat varicose veins. Varicose veins are veins that have been stretched and twisted so much that they are no longer effective at moving blood through the body. These veins can be anywhere from unsightly to itchy or painful.

What is Endovenous Laser Ablation Therapy (EVLT)?

EVLT is a minimally invasive procedure that makes use of catheters, lasers, and ultrasound to treat varicose veins. This procedure is performed most often on veins that are still relatively straight and untwisted.

The EVLT procedure begins with an interventional radiologist inserting a catheter into the varicose vein. Using ultrasound to see inside the patient, the doctor guides the catheter through the vein. A laser at the end of the catheter heats the walls of the vein, which closes it. This causes blood to stop flowing through the vein.

As the body recovers after the procedure, circulation becomes more efficient since blood is not flowing through a faulty vein and the problem vein shrinks and fades.

A group of older people laugh together.

Is EVLT Right for You?

EVLT only takes about an hour, and most patients can resume normal activities immediately without having to be admitted to a hospital. After an EVLT procedure, doctors usually recommend patients wear compression socks during the recovery process to aid circulation. This decreases the amount of bruising or swelling that can happen after the procedure. The doctor usually performs an ultrasound the following week to make sure no clots have formed in the treated veins.

Be sure to consider EVLT if you are thinking of pursuing treatment for varicose veins. Talk with your doctor to learn more about what treatment options are available and which one is right for you.

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