Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How to prepare for an EVLA

In a previous post we described the outpatient procedure called EVLA, or endovenous laser ablation. Now we’ll discuss what to do to prepare for an EVLA appointment. Being fully prepared for your appointment and following recommendations for care before your appointment will help ensure successful, comfortable treatment.

Most vein specialists offer patients pre-operative instructions. Read— and heed— all of the guidelines as part of preparing for the appointment. Common EVLA preparations include:

1. Compression stockings should be purchased and worn prior to your appointment to be sure they are comfortable. You should bring them with you the day of the procedure, as you will use them immediately following treatment and during the following two weeks.

2. Refrain from shaving your legs the morning of the procedure. This will reduce the risk of razor burn irritation from the sterilizing wash.

2. Take all regular medications the day of the procedure.

3. You will be prescribed a muscle relaxer to help keep the muscles in your leg loose, and a pain medicine. Take both medications 1 hour before the procedure or as directed by your physician.

4. Fasting is not required— eat a normal breakfast or lunch.

5. Prepare to bring or wear high-cut underwear that you are willing to have stained by iodine solution. You will likely want a second pair to change into after the procedure is over.

6. Bring an iPod or headset if you'd like to listen to music during the procedure.

It’s important to remember that while endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) is the gold standard for venous care, you and your vein doctor, together, may decide on a different course. Call the Vein Healthcare Center to schedule an educational visit and learn about what options may be right for you.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What is EVLA?

EVLA stands for endovenous laser ablation. For years, patients suffering from varicose veins and other effects of venous reflux had few options for treatment, among them vein stripping or ligation. Now, EVLA is considered the gold standard. 

During the outpatient procedure, the physician uses imaging guidance to thread a small laser fiber into the vein at the failure location. Laser energy is then applied to the inside of the vein, “irritating” the vein wall and essentially sealing the vein closed. The vein eventually disappears and is no longer visible on the surface of the leg. Blood is diverted to the many other healthy veins in the leg, and there are no ill effects from the loss of the troublesome vein. 

An appointment for EVLA therapy takes approximately two hours. The procedure itself usually takes about forty minutes. A local anesthetic is used, although for most patients, the laser causes no pain. You should tell your doctor if any pain does occur, so that more local anesthesia can be administered.

You may resume most normal activities immediately after the procedure, and most patients can return to work the next day. Note that many physicians require you to have someone drive you home, so be prepared to have someone accompany you to your appointment, or to meet you after your procedure is completed.

If you would like to learn more about EVLA and whether you are a good candidate for the procedure, call Dr. Cindy Asbjornsen at the Vein Healthcare Center