Mr Omar Tillo
Consultant Plastic Surgeon
Varicose veins are large, twisted veins which generally appear on the legs. These veins may cause some people to experience physical side effects, such as pain, tiredness, tingling, burning or heaviness. Others will experience no symptoms, but simply find the veins aesthetically unattractive.
For some people, the idea of undergoing a surgical procedure to remove the veins can seem a bit daunting. Those who do not wish to undergo a surgical procedure and wish to have a quicker recovery time may be interested in endovenous laser ablation.
This procedure uses laser energy to shrink and shut the affected veins. The healthy veins will then restore normal blood flow to the treated area.
You will be a suitable candidate for endovenous laser ablation if you have varicose veins that you are wishing to have removed.
You may not be suitable if you have small varicose veins. If the veins have returned after previous surgeries you may also not be suitable.
You will have to be at least 18 years old to undergo surgery.
You may need to stop taking certain medications, such as blood thinners, prior to undergoing this procedure.
Prior to undergoing this procedure, you will need to have a consultation with one of our surgeons. They will be able to assess whether endovenous laser ablation is the best method for you, or whether you should undergo a different removal method.
Endovenous laser ablation is performed as a day procedure. You will be able to return home the same day as the procedure. It is recommended that you have someone who will be able to drive you home.
The procedure will be performed under a local anaesthetic. You will be awake throughout the procedure but will be unable to feel any physical pain.
Endovenous laser ablation will take around one hour to complete, taking around 30 minutes per leg.
At Centre for Surgery, treatment is done using Fotona’s QCW Nd:YAG laser energy.
Using ultrasound control, the vein is punctured using a G19 needle. This creates an entry point, and through a catheter, the laser fibre is inserted into the vein.
Tumescent anaesthesia is then injected into the treatment area.
The Nd:YAG laser is then delivered to the desired location within the vein. This deposits thermal energy into the blood and the vein wall. The healthy vein surrounding the varicose vein is then able to return normal blood flow to the area.
This procedure will be able to reduce the physical symptoms experienced by the varicose veins, as well as improve the appearance of the veins. If you are wishing to completely remove teh veins, you may wish to undergo surgical varicose vein removal.
You will be able to return home on the same day as your procedure.
It is recommended that you do not drive home following this procedure.
You will have to wear stockings over your legs for at least two weeks. This will help to compress the legs. You will have to avoid swimming and getting the legs wet during this period.
You may experience some tightening of the legs or mild pain. You may wish to take pain medication to help alleviate any symptoms. This should subside in a few days.
You should not need to take any time off work. You will be able to resume your usual daily activities right away. You will be encouraged to be physically active and undertake activities such as walking in order to avoid complications such as blood clots.
Varicose veins are large veins which generally appear in the legs or feet. They can often appear twisted or bumpy.
Some people with varicose veins may experience physical symptoms such as tiredness, swelling, burning, drying, itching or even muscle cramps. Others may experience no side effects.
If you are not experiencing physical pain or any health related issues, you may not need to have your varicose veins removed. Your GP may recommend you wear compression stockings or undertake particular exercises.
However, if you are experiencing any pain, other issues, or dislike the aesthetic appearance of the veins, you may wish to have them removed.
Otherwise known as ELVA, the treatment involves using a laser to target the veins in the leg. At Centre for Surgery, we use Fotona’s QCW Nd:YAG laser energy.
With the assistance of ultrasound, a G19 needle will be used to puncture the vein. This allows for a laser fibre to be inserted into the vein. Tumescent anaesthesia will also be injected into the treatment area to reduce any feelings of pain and discomfort.
The laser will then be used within the vein, depositing thermal energy into the blood and vein wall. The healthy vein surrounding this is then able to return normal blood flow to the vein.
You will be injected with tumescent anaesthetic into the treatment area, which will help to minimise any discomfort felt during the procedure.
For the first few days following the procedure, it is normal to experience some pain and discomfort. You may wish to take medication to help alleviate any symptoms. This should only last a few days.
You should not need to take any time off work.
You will need to wear a compression garment following EndoVenous Laser Ablation. This will help to ensure the legs stay in the best possible condition. While wearing the compression garment you will need to avoid getting the legs wet.
You will be encouraged to be physically active right away. This will help to avoid the risk of blood clots occurring.
While you are still wearing the compression garments you will have to avoid swimming.
ELVA is a suitable way to reduce symptoms and improve the appearance of the varicose veins, but it may not remove the appearance of the veins entirely.
If you are wishing to remove the veins entirely, you may wish to undergo other treatments such as avulsions or foam sclerotherapy following ELVA.