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Varicose veins

Endovenous laser treatment (ELVT) treatment for varicose veins


What does endovenous laser treatment (ELVT) involve?

A small cut is made near the knee and a catheter is inserted into the vein with the aid of an ultrasound scan.

A tiny laser fibre or probe is then passed through the catheter, along the inside of the vein. The laser emits short pulses of energy, causing the vein to heat up, damaging the inner walls and thus sealing it from within.

Endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) is an outpatient procedure that is performed under local anaesthetic. It takes around 30-45 minutes per leg. Because of the anaesthetic, pain from the area is blocked so you’ll feel nothing.

EVLT might also be performed in conjunction with an ambulatory phlebectomy or transilluminated powered phlebectomy.

How long is the recovery period?

After the procedure, you might feel tightness in your legs and the affected areas may be bruised and sore.

Like with ligation and stripping, taking painkillers and wearing compression stockings can help ease the discomfort, although there is generally less discomfort with EVLT than with ligation and stripping.

You should walk about a bit after the treatment but intense activity should be avoided for a few weeks. You will normally be able to return to work the following day.

Who can have this done?

Most people are able to have endovenous laser treatment but it’s particularly suitable for people with large or painful varicose veins and leg wounds that are slow to heal.

How much does it cost?

Endovenous laser treatment is limited on the NHS. If you go private, it costs in the region of £1500-£2000 for one leg.


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