EVLT, Sclerotherapy, Phlebectomy
Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLT)
South Florida Vascular Associates uses the latest techniques in the treatment of venous insufficiency, such as endovenous laser treatment (EVLT). This is an effective technology that has evolved from the often-characterized “antiquated methods” of surgical ligation and vein stripping.
Vein stripping is a very painful and arduous experience. EVLT, on the other hand, is a minimally invasive procedure during which light emission (heat) from a laser fiber beam is used to cauterize the inside of the varicose vein wall. This method closes the unhealthy, refluxing vein. EVLT is an alternative to both traditional surgery and other treatments, and it requires minimal access to the vein.
During this procedure, a local anesthetic is applied to the vein and the physician inserts a tiny catheter into the problematic vein using ultrasound to guide its entry. The energy from the laser then works to close the unhealthy refluxing vein and thus reduce the tension on the surface skin veins.
With the problematic vein permanently closed, the body then reroutes the blood to healthier veins returning the blood back to the heart. EVLT is a reliable and simple way to treat varicose veins without surgery.
The advantages of laser vein treatment include:
- Treatment typically takes less than one hour
- Provides immediate relief
- Avoidance of general anesthesia
- Minimized recovery period and immediate return to normal activities
- No scarring or stitches
- Lower rate of complication
- Higher success rate and durability of the procedure relative to surgery
Often patients will combine EVLT with sclerotherapy.
Sclerotherapy involves an injection of a chemical irritant into the vein that causes acute inflammation of the smaller veins (reticular veins or spider veins) and helps the veins to close as they heal from chronic ongoing inflammation. At SFVA, we use only the FDA-approved chemical sclerosing agent called sodium tetradecyl sulfate, which has been in clinical use for over 60 years.
An added benefit of sclerotherapy is that multiple “feeder veins” can be closed with a single injection. A large area of spider veins may require multiple sessions of sclerotherapy, and sometimes re-treatments are required. In terms of obliterating small reticular veins or spider veins, sclerotherapy is widely used as the treatment of choice.
Ambulatory phlebectomy (also referred to as microphlebectomy) is a minimally invasive surgical technique used to treat varicose veins that are not caused by saphenous vein reflux.
During this procedure, tiny incisions are made (less than 2 – 4 mm or 1/16 to 1/8 inch) over the varicose vein and a special instrument is used to remove the vein through the opening in the skin. The procedure itself usually takes less than an hour.