EVLT & Radiofrequency Vein Ablation
Endovenous laser therapy (EVLT) and radiofrequency ablation (RFA) are two minimally invasive methods of treating venous reflux and varicose veins that involve the great saphenous vein, or GSV. This vein, which extends from the top of the foot to the groin, is the vein most commonly affected when varicose veins appear.
Varicose veins are swollen, twisted veins that can be seen just under the skin. It is a common condition, affecting up to one in three adults. Varicose veins typically occur in the legs and can cause significant pain and discomfort. Although usually harmless, varicose veins can sometimes lead to more serious problems such as blood clots or nonhealing open sores (ulcers).
Using EVLT or RFA to Treat Varicose Veins
Varicose veins typically occur due to damaged or faulty veins that cause blood to pool in an area and engorge sections of the affected vein. Treatment usually involves destroying or removing the problematic areas of the affected vein, allowing blood to reroute through healthier nearby vessels.
EVLT and RFA are two popular nonsurgical treatments for large varicose veins. Both are catheter-based procedures that use heat (via laser or radiofrequency energy) to destroy the dysfunctional veins, relieve your symptoms, and improve the appearance of your legs. Over time, the treated vein will disappear. Sclerotherapy and phlebectomy are additional minimally invasive options that may be used depending on the nature of your varicose veins. Newer methods include the use of adhesives (e.g., VenaSeal) to close off the damaged vein.
At Florida Endovascular and Interventional in South Florida, we offer all these varicose vein treatments, and more. Our interventional radiologists have the expertise you need for the quick and successful removal of ugly and uncomfortable varicose veins – without having to undergo surgery. We offer same-day, outpatient treatments, performed in our fully equipped, in-office surgery suites, to relieve your symptoms and get rid of those unsightly veins.
What Is EVLT?
Endovenous laser therapy uses the heat from laser light energy to seal off and close the damaged sections of a vein. Using real-time imaging guidance, your interventional radiologist will thread a catheter from a vein in your leg to the area to be treated. A thin fiber from within the catheter delivers laser light to the target area, causing the vein to close.
What Is RFA?
Radiofrequency ablation uses high-intensity, high-frequency radio waves to heat and close problematic veins. This energy is electrical, rather than light-based (as with EVLT). The procedure and results, however, are similar: a catheter is threaded through a vein in the leg to the problem area where energy creates heat that seals off a section of the damaged vein.
EVLT vs. RFA?
Here are some basic pros and cons for each procedure:
- EVLT: The use of laser light in an EVLT procedure is extremely efficient – often, making this procedure the preferred method for larger varicose veins or where blood clots or complex vein webs are also present. However, EVLT may sometimes result in more bruising than an RFA procedure. It also may not be recommended for patients with dark or deeply tanned skin, as it may cause some discoloration.
- RFA: The RFA procedure delivers short bursts of radiofrequency energy at the treatment site, requiring direct contact with the vein wall. Depending on where the varicose vein is located, this may make successful RFA more challenging than an EVLT procedure. RFA is associated with less bruising or discomfort than an EVLT. It is generally used for smaller varicose veins.
Post-Procedure Recovery Tips
Follow your doctor’s recommendations during your recovery after an EVLT or RFA for varicose veins. For example, you may be asked to avoid sun exposure and excess heat (e.g., hot tub, sauna). Also, while walking is good, strenuous exercise or lifting heavy objects should be avoided for a period of time after an EVLT procedure.
Minimally Invasive Treatments for Varicose Veins in South Florida
EVLT and RFA are safe, effective, minimally invasive treatments for varicose veins. Both procedures provide immediate relief of symptoms associated with varicose veins.
At Florida Endovascular and Interventional, we excel at providing same-day, outpatient vascular treatments like endovascular laser therapy and radiofrequency ablation. To find out more, call us at (786) 534-2555 or request an appointment now. We have four convenient South Florida locations from which to serve you.