Endovenous Laser Ablation
CoolTouch Endovenous Laser Ablation
Treatment of dysfunctional source veins under the skin’s surface with an endovenous laser fiber procedure has revolutionized the field of phlebology, making it possible to treat these veins with a minimally-invasive, low risk office procedure that is extremely effective, very well tolerated, and has minimal downtime for the patient. The CoolTouch Endovenous (CTEV) Laser, which has a 1320 nm wavelength, is used most commonly to treat the great saphenous vein in the thigh, which is often the cause of varicose and spider veins on the front or inside of the leg. The endovenous laser procedure has taken the place of the stripping and ligation procedure, which carries with it general anesthesia, greater risks, and more downtime.
With the CoolTouch laser, a single micro-incision is made on the leg (usually near the inner knee), and the laser fiber is inserted into the abnormal source vein under the skin’s surface. The target vein is then numbed with local anesthetic, and the laser fiber is then activated and slowly and painlessly removed from the vein, during which time it gently heats and seals up the vein. The procedure takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour to perform. Patients experience minimal if any pain, bruising, or post-op complications and the success rate is 98 to 100%.
Recovery & Results
Patients will be able to walk and carry on with normal low-impact activities immediately after the CTEV laser procedure. Patients can return to work the same day, but vigorous exercise and heavy lifting should be avoided for at least one week. All that is required for post-operative pain, if anything, are over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. Any pre-treatment symptoms such as throbbing, aching, and leg fatigue should be immediately improved. Once the source vein is closed, the blood that was circulating through this vein is simply re-routed to other healthy veins, and often the varicose veins that were fed by this vein will greatly diminish in size and symptoms. (However, for patients with large varicose veins, immediately after the laser is performed, the varicosities are treated at the same appointment with an ambulatory phlebectomy procedure.)
Similar to the ambulatory phlebectomy, the most serious but extremely rare complication of this procedure is a blood clot in the deep vein, for which the risk is minimized by the use of compression stockings for 3 weeks and daily walking for at least 30 minutes. Therefore, patients who are unable to tolerate stockings, unable to walk for 30 minutes, or who are allergic to the local anesthetic should not undergo this procedure.