Endovenous Laser Treatment - EVLT

EVLT Q&A | Ask a Doctor about EVLT

General Information


EVLT stands for Endovenous Laser Treatment. EVLT. A revolutionary new treatment used for significant varicose veins that previously were only effectively treated by ligation and removal.

EVLT is an outpatient procedure that involves ultrasound waves to identify the source of major varicose veins. The vein is collapsed using laser energy delivered from a thin laser fiber placed within the specific vein. The length of the vein is frozen with a local anesthetic to eliminate discomfort and protect surrounding tissues from excess laser heat. The procedure can take between 45 to 90 minutes to perform and patients have been known to return to work the same day.

There is a known success rate of 93 % with a recurrence rate of only 7 % after 2 years. An adverse effect profile shows to include minor bruising and minimal discomfort requiring minimal pain medication or none at all.

EVLT works by laser energy damaging he vein walls, shrinking and thus closing the damaged vein so blood may no longer flow through it.
The loss of a vein is generally not an issue- legs have many veins and after the treatment, blood in the faulty veins will be diverted to normal veins in order to make its way back to the heart. Removal of these affected areas of circulation may actually improve blood circulation blood in the treated area. Improvement in limb circulation will in effect cause improvement of the symptoms of fatigue and heaviness in the area.

With the inherent complications associated with any medical procedure, only minimal complications have been experienced with the EVLT procedure where there has been a small number of cases of numbness.

Traditionally, the faulty saphenous vein are treated by surgical ligation and stripping. This can involve at least two surgical incisions in order to tie off and pull out the faulty vein- this is usually performed under general anesthesia. EVLT has been shown to have a lower risk of complication; shorter recovery period, lower costs and no scarring associated with the procedure in comparison with surgery.

The common alternative therapies associated with this condition are ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy (also known as injection therapy) and radio frequency electrosurgery. Injection therapy or sclerotherapy for the saphenous vein appears to have a high recurrence rate frequently requiring additional re-treatment. Injection therapy is excellent for cosmetic treatment of any visible veins remaining after EVLT treatment. Radiofrequency electrosurgery has been known to be limiting in the range of patients it has been able to treat and the treatment time is noticeably longer than EVLT.

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 VeinDirectory.org Staff
Updated: October 30, 2009

EVLT Q&A

  • Is severe pain on inner ankle area normal after EVLT?
    (1 answer)
    Two (2) weeks after EVLT the only area that is problematic is my inner ankle area with a small opening taking a long time to heal. Comment made at time of surgery was that the vein was on the bone. Could this be the cause of the severe pain and swelling?
  • Had evlt 2 months ago. Have problems, what to do so doesn't get worse?
    (1 answer)
    I had evlt on my greater saphenous in lower leg 2 months ago, I have had problems ever since I need help to make sure it doesn't get worse. I had evlt on my lower leg and have experienced severe burning and tingling in inner ankle, now subsided w/Gabapentin. Numbness in ankle, bottom of foot burns at times with constant tingling. Also aching legs and extreme fatigue, more spider veins.
  • How often can EVLT be performed?
    (0 answers)
    I was just wondering if there are more complications to doing more "injections". it will be a year next march for me. At my last visit, my doc recommended I come back if the discomfort continues.
  • When will EVLT start taking effect?
    (0 answers)
    I had EVLT 12days ago and I'm wondering why I'm feeling the hard veins from thigh down to my lower thigh I thought the veins will collapse. I'm scared about Deep Vein Thrombosis.