Varicose veins are caused by the one-way valves in your veins failing and letting blood flow the wrong way. That is- back down the leg. This increased blood flow creates more pressure on the vein and eventually it dilates and forms a varicose vein.
The only way to treat varicose veins used to be with vein surgery, also known as ‘stripping and ligation’ this painful operation needed to be done is hospital with a general anaesthetic and you required two weeks off work after the procedure. There is now available in Australia a relatively new technique called ‘Endovenous Laser Ablation’ or ELA.
This technique involves inserting a laser fibre in to the incompetent (failed) vein and using the light energy to ‘heat seal’ the vein. The vein walls stick together and form scar tissue. This is then absorbed by the body over time. There is no cutting, no hospital admission, no general anaesthetic and you can be back at work the next day. The long term results for ELA are also much better than for the traditional stripping procedures.
At five years’ post surgery about 40% of people will have recurrent varicose veins. At five years’ post ELA less than 1% of people will have had a recurrence. Compression stockings must be worn for two weeks after ELA. This procedure represents the way of the future for vein treatment and in the USA has become the treatment of choice for varicose veins, with more ELA procedures being performed than traditional surgery. For anyone with varicose veins ELA represents a more comfortable, less disruptive procedure with a much better long term outcome, which can benefit you in a range of positive ways.