Treatments for varicose veins (VII): laser and radiofrequency

Haz clic aquí para leer este artículo en Español

 

Whenever we come across the word “laser” – and in medicine would not be less – it seems to have a magical, striking effect. Some mysterious halo surrounds this word, which seems to promise that it is able to solve anything, whatever it might be… Beyond any doubt, this is one of the reasons for the great success of these techniques during the last few years.

LaserBoth techniques (laser and radiofrequency) are able to treat the varicose veins by “endovenous thermal ablation”.

The term “ablation” in medicine usually refers to “removal or separation”, although it is not exactly what we are meaning here. In this case ablation rather refers to “definite occlusion” of a vein (made on purpose). The term “endovenous” means that it is performed from inside the vein itself, and “thermal” because we get the result by delivering heat.

Both techniques (laser and radiofrequency) are extremely similar, and generally speaking, we use them only to treat the great saphenous vein, and exclusively on its segment along the thigh – from the groin to the knee (there are exceptions to this, but for now they are just exceptions). The procedure involves inserting a catheter (a long, thin plastic tube) into the vein through a puncture or small incision either at the ankle or knee level; we bring it up inside the vein until shortly before the great saphenous vein joins the common femoral vein (the saphenofemoral junction, which is the place where the problem most frequently has begun); and through the catheter tip we deliver heat, so that we “burn” (in a controlled manner, of course) the vein from inside, causing it to shrink and close. As we are removing the catheter down we are “sealing” the vein from inside. The only difference between both techniques is whether the source of the heat delivered to the vein is laser (light energy) or radiofrequency (electromagnetic energy).

Radiofrecuencia

The procedure can be performed under local anesthesia in most cases, if necessary accompanied by some superficial sedation. This anesthesia is applied diluted in some amount of liquid, and we infuse it around the entire vein to act at the same time as “cushion”, absorbing excess of heat and thus preventing thermal damage to a neighbouring structure. It is an outpatient procedure, so after one hour the patient is already walking (wearing the usual compression stocking) and can go home without the need for hospital admission.

Although these techniques still have not been followed up for as long as the classic surgery, we are having more and more studies available about them, and also these studies are better designed and of better quality. The results derived from these studies show that, if we select the cases well (it means, if we apply these techniques only in the ideal patients), the results are at least as good as the stripping but less aggressive and with a much faster recovery, which is a clear advantage over classic stripping.

However, not all varicose veins (and not all the patients) can be treated using these techniques (I mentioned before that, as a general rule, they can only be used to treat the greater saphenous vein from the groin to the knee). As always, the vascular surgeon is the appropriate person to recommend the best option for a given individual (customize the treatment), once the necessary examinations have been carried out.

Below, the official video from Covidien® (the company manufacturing the radiofrequency device), to illustrate the procedure:

 

 

And similarly, an animation summarizing the treatment with laser (or EVLT®), published by the clinic VenaCare®:

 

 

Finally, a video explaining a REAL laser procedure, and a demonstration of the way it works (using a real vein already excised from the body, to be able to see it clearly), published by Dr. Robson de Miranda (Fluox® clinic). The comments are in Portuguese from Brazil, but I hope that with the explanations given above in the post, it can be easily understood. Also, I insist that the images are real, and can be disgusting for some sensible persons:

 

 

Portada-VARICOSEIf you are interested in further knowledge about this disease, its causes, consequences, how it can be treated and, even better, how are we able to prevent it, you have everything explained in a very friendly and easy way in the book VARICOSE VEINS: truth & myths.

 


 

Jorge Molina
Dr. Jorge Molina is a Spanish doctor specialized in Angiology, Vascular Surgery and Cosmetic Medicine. He is currently residing in Abu Dhabi (UAE), and works as a Consultant and Head of Vascular Surgery and Wound Care Departments in Healthpoint hospital, in Zayed Sport City, Abu Dhabi. He is the author and editor of “Medicine Made Easy”, a book collection aimed to disclose medical topics of interest to the general public in an easy and friendly manner.

 

Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Treatments for varicose veins (VII): laser and radiofrequency

  1. If you wish for to obtain a good deal from this post then you
    have to apply these techniques to your won blog.

  2. Hi there friends, its great article on the topic of educationand entirely defined, keep it up all the time.

  3. Highly descriptive blog, I liked that bit.

    Will there be a part 2?

    • Jorge says:

      It’s actually a series of articles, each about a different technique to treat varicose veins.

      I recommend you to check the rest of the posts!

  4. Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just
    your articles? I mean, what you say is impportant and all.
    But just imagkne if you added somje great graphics or video clips to
    give your posts more, “pop”! Your contennt is excellent butt with image and videos, thijs blog
    could undeniably bbe one of the most beneficial in its field.
    Good blog!

  5. szczenieta says:

    This is my first time pay a quick visit at here and i am
    actually pleassant to read all at one place.

  6. Marshall says:

    First off I would like to say superb blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask
    if you do not mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your
    head before writing. I have had difficulty clearing my thoughts in getting
    my ideas out. I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes
    are generally wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or hints?

    Appreciate it!

  7. Darci says:

    Hello every one, here every person is sharing such know-how,
    thus it’s good to read this webpage, and I used
    to visit this weblog everyday.

  8. I do consider all of the ideas you’ve introduced
    for your post. They are really convincing and can certainly
    work. Nonetheless, the posts are too brief for starters.
    May just you please extend them a bit from next time?
    Thanks for the post.

  9. I pay a quick visit day-to-day a few websites and information sites to read articles or reviews,
    however this web site gives quality based
    writing.

  10. Hi there! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d
    ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest authoring a blog article or
    vice-versa? My website covers a lot of the same subjects as yours and I think we could greatly benefit from
    each other. If you might be interested feel free to send me
    an email. I look forward to hearing from you!
    Fantastic blog by the way!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *