What Is ELVeS (Endo Laser Vein System)?
ELVeS is a remarkable procedure for the treatment of varicose veins. It involves delivering laser energy through a supple laser fiber threaded into the vein. This process may be used in the greater saphenous vein to redirect the flow of blood to undamaged veins. ELVeS is considered by many professionals to be the best treatment option currently on the market for varicose vein reduction and elimination.
How Does ELVeS Work?
Using the ELVeS, the physician begins by locating the damaged veins, which appear clearly on a special monitor. After numbing the area with lidocaine, he or she works to guide the tiny wire of the laser to the useless, bulging vein. Once the laser is in place, the doctor uses its energy to cause a constriction of the walls of the vein, resulting in a closing off of the blood flow. This leads to the eventual disintegration of the vein. The body then reabsorbs the vein so that it causes no further problems. The precision of the laser during this process gives the doctor the ability to eliminate the varicose vein without causing damage to other cells in the area.
What Areas of the Body Does ELVeS Treat?
ELVeS has been approved for the treatment of varicose veins in the lower extremities of the body.
What Are the Advantages of ELVeS over other Procedures?
ELVeS is a safe, effective treatment which can be performed in a clinic or doctor’s office in under an hour’s time. Surgery for the treatment of varicose veins requires both general anesthesia and hospitalization. This makes it much more expensive than ELVeS, and patients are often left with surgical scars from the two incisions that are made, even after the healing process is complete. Some other procedures used also carry the risk of perforating the vein which may lead to serious consequences. With ELVeS, patients may return to work quickly and most suffer almost no pain other than the initial shots of lidocaine. The success rate of ELVeS is higher than other minimally-invasive treatments, and the likelihood of recurrence is almost nonexistent. Unlike some other treatments, ELVeS typically leaves no discoloration on the surface of the skin other than some light bruising for a few days.
What Is the Recovery Like?
Immediately following the ELVeS procedure, the doctor will place a compression bandage around the site to shrink the vein and encourage the redirection of the blood. This will remain in place for about a week, giving the area time to heal. Patients should experience very little pain during this time. Some complain of a stretching feeling when they move the first few days after the procedure, but this usually disappears quickly. After leaving the office, patients are allowed to return to most activities the next day. Strenuous exercise, however, is not encouraged for a few days.
What Will My Results Be Like?
In most cases, ELVeS completely eliminates the bulging and discoloration of varicose veins. The skin is smooth and supple, and pain is not longer an issue. For those who finish the complete course of treatment with ELVeS, the success rate is very high. Once the IV site has closed and the compression bandages come off, the skin should be similar to the healthy tissue surrounding it.
What Are the Risks?
No medical procedure is entirely without risks, but ELVeS has very few. It is possible for blood clots to develop, but this is extremely rare. The only permanent side effect reported by patients is some slight numbness around the treatment area, and this disappears for most within a few weeks. A very few patients are left with some permanent lack of feeling at the point of treatment.
Is ELVeS Approved for Use in the U.S.?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave its approval for the use of ELVeS on varicose veins in 2002. It is, therefore, widely used by physicians in the United States and considered a safe and effective treatment.
Is ELVeS Covered by Insurance?
Most insurance companies cover the ELVeS procedure for the treatment of severe varicose vein problems. This is considered a good investment for insurance companies because patients can develop heart and lung conditions as a result of poor circulation. It is important to get an estimate of what is covered and the amount of any co-pays before scheduling any medical treatment. At this time, ELVeS is on the list of procedures covered by Medicare.
How Much Does ELVeS Cost?
Because providers in different parts of the country price procedures based on their economic market, ELVeS treatment may vary greatly from the East Coast to the West Coast. It is wise to call and schedule a consultation with a provider. Then, any questions about the procedure and related costs can be explained, and an informed decision can be made.
Disclaimer: This information is intended only as an introduction to this procedure. This information should not be used to determine whether you will have the procedure performed nor does it guarantee results of your elective surgery. Further details regarding surgical standards and procedures should be discussed with your physician.
By OnlineSurgery.com Staff
Updated: October 14, 2009