In the human body, there are two highways for the blood: the arteries take oxygenated blood from the heart and lungs out to the rest of the body; the veins return blood with little remaining oxygen back up to the heart.
“Up” is an important part of this — veins often have to fight gravity, particularly in the legs, carrying the blood up the legs back to the heart. And that can cause problems because as we get older the muscles and other tissues, which usually provide support to the veins and help them push blood, weaken. Plus, veins have a backflow preventer in them, and these can also fail with age. When this happens, the veins can bulge with pools of purple, de-oxygenated blood. Often these veins push upward on the leg skin, resembling embossed lines coursing across the leg surface.
Varicose veins. Yuck.
At Diamond Medical Spa & Vein we put our lasers to work getting rid of your unsightly varicose veins. The process is called endovenous laser therapy.
The old way = ouch!
Before lasers, there was only one way to get rid of varicose veins, ligation, and stripping. This involved making several incisions, inserting a flexible device through the vein and removing it through an incision near the groin or ankle. Smaller veins connected to the larger vein were also removed in this way, and veins that connected to deeper veins were tied off. As you would assume, this method caused a good deal of pain, especially during recovery. The procedure required general anesthesia and patients usually needed two weeks to recover before returning to work.
Lasers to the rescue
In endovenous laser therapy, Dr. Yates identifies the targeted vein and prepares the area with a local anesthetic. He then inserts a laser probe through a needle into the vein. He can accurately do this by concurrently using ultrasound imaging.
Once the laser is inside the vein, a pulse of laser energy is delivered down the length of the vein. The light energy of the laser converts to heat energy and this damages the vein walls, causing them to collapse and close off blow flow. Blood running through the vein is naturally rerouted by the body to normal, functional adjacent veins, which usually improves circulation, further relieving symptoms. The probe is then removed from the vein, and a small dressing and compression bandages are applied to the area. The process takes less than an hour.
Interested in getting rid of those ugly varicose veins in time for summer? Call Dr. Yates at 563-275-4701 and ask about endovenous laser therapy.