With the advancement in technology in the healthcare sector, diagnosis and treatment methods are fast changing to modern means to tackle the various disorders and diseases of the body.
Key-hole surgery, laser surgery, etc., are few innovative new techniques that are gaining popularity. One such non-invasive method of surgery is laser surgery. The method is usually preferred for treatments that typically require precision, like eye surgeries or targetted removal of affected or scarred tissues.
However, questions such as whether laser surgery for varicose veins is safe often crop up among patients who are in the process of deciding the options of treatments available to them. In India, the number of persons affected by varicose veins is more than 7% of the adult population.
What are Varicose Veins?
The human body consists of a circulatory system that comprises arteries and veins. With the heart, arteries, and veins, the circulatory system is responsible for supplying oxygen through the blood throughout the human body.
While arteries take blood from the heart to different body parts, veins take the blood back to the heart from various body parts. These arteries and veins contain a series of valves within them that control the blood flow.
Sometimes these valves get damaged or weaken and do not function as desired. The arteries have additional support from the heart, whereas the veins do not. Gradually the affected veins get swollen and enlarged, and proper blood flow is prevented.
Varicose means “to be enlarged”. They look bluish-purple in appearance and may also look twisted due to pressure. It usually occurs in the legs due to the high pressure on the legs due to standing.
Genetics, old age, and obesity are leading causes of varicose veins. Traditional treatment options included surgery (i.e. ligation of the veins and removing them) and sclerotherapy.
What is Laser Surgery?
In laser surgery, light beams are used to cut the tissues rather than a scalpel and other surgical instruments. Laser is an abbreviation for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation.
Laser surgery has come to be the preferred method in case of eye surgeries, dermatological procedures, etc. The reason is that tissues with high water content (also called soft tissues) are better operated on using laser beams.
Such precision may not be available with a traditional scalpel and other surgical instruments. Laser surgery is also done on hard tissues such as bones in orthopedic procedures and teeth in dentistry.
Almost all laser surgeries are minimally invasive, meaning that apart from the tissue that requires surgery, the surrounding tissue to the affected area is rarely disturbed.
On the other hand, traditional surgeries mean trauma to the affected area and surrounding tissue to a more considerable extent. Scarring would be present, healing time and postoperative care itself might take more than a week for even minor surgeries.
Endo-venous laser treatment
Endo-venous laser treatment (ELT) is the name of laser surgery used to treat varicose veins. Here the veins are first marked with ultrasound scanning, and after that, the laser energy is focused on the marked area.
An ultrasound (used of high-frequency sound waves to mark internal anatomy) marks the veins with very high precision. A thin optical fiber is then guided inside the vein with laser light (the portion of the light that falls in the infrared spectrum of light waves).
It causes the veins to collapse and shrink (soft tissue gets evaporated), and the vein is removed carefully along with the optical fiber. This procedure is done under a local anesthetic, i.e. anesthesia is provided only to the area being operated on and is usually done as a daycare procedure.
What is the difference between EVLT and ELT?
EVLT is the same as ELT. However, EVLT is the patented form of procedure. The technique of insertion of the laser optical fiber, local anesthetic, and point in time when the laser is activated, etc., differs. EVLT is the trademark owned by Diomed. Apart from the technical differences, the procedure and concept essentially remain the same.
Benefits of laser surgery for varicose veins
- Greater assurance as to effective treatment compared to surgical ligation.
- Chances of scarring are minimal to nil. Since the fiber is inserted into the vein through a catheter, there is no skin incision.
- Insurance coverage extended by most health insurance providers.
- Daycare procedure meaning there is no postoperative hospitalization required. Patients are usually given only a compression stocking or bandage to be worn for 2-3 weeks.
This post has been sponsored by Stan Ventures Private Limited
Digital Health Buzz! aims to be the destination of choice when it comes to what’s happening in the digital health world. We are not about news and views, but informative articles and thoughts to apply in your business.