In my practice of the treatment of veins, I’m am daily asked questions by patients and their families concerning this treatment. Today I plan to address some of these questions so that readers, who 310 likely have similar interests, can gain a better insight into this subject.
How Does the Laser Work to Close the Vein?
The endovenous laser is one that we put inside the vein in order to close off those big veins that are damaged and hurting the patient. This is a different laser than the skin laser which is sometimes used on spider veins. The endovenous laser creates a concentrated light that creates intense heat. The laser I use produces a wave length that targets water. Since water is the main component of the cells of the vein, the heat is distributed to these cells and permanently damages them, resulting in contraction, scarring and closing of the vein.
Why Doesn’t This Energy Destroy or Damage the Tissue Around the Vein?
It can. However, we take precautions to prevent this. A wall of liquid anesthetic is placed 360 degrees around the targeted vein and any energy that reaches around the vein is absorbed by this one centimeter wall of fluid. There have been reported cases where tissue has been damaged when inadequate anesthetic has been delivered.
What Happens to the Blood that Used to Return to the Heart When the Vein is Closed?
This blood still returns to the heart, it just uses an alternate route. There are many, many veins throughout the body. Imagine you were in Henderson and you wished to go to Summerlin. You would start on a route you had chosen and begin your journey. If you ran into a street that was under repair and blocked, you would choose an alternate route.
In similar fashion, the blood will find an alternate vein, one that has normal valves and function, and return to the heart. There are literally thousands of patients walking around who have had vein treatments or who have had heart surgery where the veins in there legs were used as bypass grafts whose blood continues to return to the heart using alternate routes.
Then What Happens to the Vein Once it is Closed?
The vein contracts and gets smaller over time as the scarring process continues and as the body removes old tissue that is not being used. This process is so efficient that often when we examine the patients in follow up with the ultrasound, we often cannot find the previously treated vein?
Next time, in part 2 of our Frequently Asked Questions series, we will talk about insurance, down time after surgery and more. Come visit us at Five Star Vein Institute in Las Vegas or Mesquite, Nevada to discuss your questions regarding your venous health.