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Consultant Vascular Surgeon - Varicose and Thread Vein Expert
 

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Endovenous Laser varicose vein surgery

  • Successful treatment depends on careful pre-operative assessment.
  • No two peoples’ varicose veins are the same and the right procedure for one person
    may not be successful for someone else.

For post-operative information on Endovenous Laser surgery please visit here


Diagram showing stages of the endovenous laser ablation of varicose veinsWhat does Endovenous Laser Technique involve?

The Endovenous Laser Technique is a minimally invasive way of treating varicose veins. Instead of making an incision in the groin and stripping out the vein, a laser fibre is passed along the vein from the inside. When the laser fibre is in position, the laser is fired to heat the vein. The vein near the end of the laser fibre is destroyed. Gradually the laser fibre is withdrawn from the leg unit until the diseased vein is completely destroyed.


What happens to the varicose vein once it has been treated with the laser?

The vein breaks down and is reabsorbed by the body.


Can the Endovenous Laser Technique be performed under both local and general anaesthetic?

Yes. This technique can be performed under either local or general anaesthetic depending on preference.


How uncomfortable is the local anaesthetic option?

If you opt for local anaesthetic, a series of injections are needed during the operation. But usually patients do not feel these after the first few.


Does the Endovenous Laser Technique involve staying in hospital?

If you opt for a local anaesthetic procedure, you will only be in hospital between four and six hours. Usually, patients stay in hospital for one night with a general anaesthetic.


Diagram showing the new radial endovenous laser fibre - fires laser circumferentiallyWhat are the advantages of the Endovenous Laser Technique compared to traditional varicose vein surgery?

With Endovenous Laser, stripping of the vein is avoided. The technique is also associated with less post-operative pain and a quicker return to normal activity. It is also associated with minimal or no scarring.


What potential complications may occur with the Endovenous Laser Technique?

Bruising and haematoma are common but resolve. Rare complications include damage to the femoral vein, skin burns, nerve damage and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). But the risk of DVT is lower after Endovenous Laser Surgery than conventional surgery. Full laser safety precautions are taken during the operation.


How painful is the Endovenous Laser Technique?

In my experience, 60% of patients require no painkillers after leaving hospital. The remaining patients require mild painkillers in the days after surgery.


Will my legs be bandaged after the operation?

Yes. The legs are bandaged in the operating theatre and are worn for two days. They are removed at home and replaced by compression stockings which are then worn for two weeks. You will be measured in hospital for the correct size of compression stockings, which should be worn during the daytime but don’t have to be worn at night.


Michael Gaunt performing endovenous laser techniquevaricose veins before and after Endovenous Laser surgeryWhat follow up is required?

Outpatient follow up is arranged six to eight weeks after the operation to assess the effects of the treatment. Quite often no further intervention is required but sometimes residual varicose veins do require treatment with injection sclerotherapy. Additionally, Endovenous Laser does not treat thread veins and treatment of these has to be performed in clinic once the legs have recovered from surgery. Again, this is done with simple injection sclerotherapy over several weeks.


How long will I need to be off work after Endovenous Laser Surgery?

This depends on the extent of the surgery and whether one or both of the legs have been treated. But generally the average time off work is 1-7 days for local anaesthetic procedures and 7-14 days for general anaesthetic procedures.


How mobile will I be after Endovenous Laser Surgery?

Patients can walk around immediately after the operation and walking is encouraged post-operatively.


When can I drive after Endovenous Laser Surgery?

It is recommended that you do not drive until you are pain free and in full control of the vehicle - usually around seven days.


When can I return to the gym or start heavier exercise after Endovenous Laser Surgery?

As a general rule, it is recommended that heavy exercise be avoided for about four weeks while healing occurs. However gentle exercise such as walking can be performed immediately.


When can I fly after Endovenous Laser Surgery?

We recommended six weeks long haul or four weeks if it is a short haul flight.


Can veins come back after Endovenous Laser Surgery?

Yes they can, but figures suggest that reoccurrence is less common than after traditional varicose vein surgery.


How experienced is Mr Gaunt with Endovenous Laser?

Mr Gaunt is one of the most experienced surgeons in the UK with over 2,000 procedures performed.