The Vein Center offers state-of-the-art procedures for eradicating varicose veins, including new minimally invasive laser therapy.
A study conducted at Weill Cornell Vascular in New York showed that endovenous laser treatment has a 98 percent success rate and a long-term recurrence rate of less than 7 percent. These results surpass traditional surgical ligation and vein stripping, which require general anesthesia and up to two weeks recuperation time.
At the Vein Center, Gerant Rivera, MD, performs the new minimally invasive, laser treatment as an outpatient procedure using duplex ultrasound imaging guidance. He cuts a nick the size of a pen tip, and inserts a narrow catheter into the saphenous vein all the way up to the thigh. The machine applies laser energy to the vein interior, an action that heats the vein and seals it closed.
Unlike traditional surgery, this new minimally invasive procedure takes 45 minutes and patients can walk out of the hospital afterward. They wear a stocking for a week and can return to work right away. Patients experience minimal complications as such heaviness in the leg, and tightness as the vein shrinks during the one to two weeks following the procedure.
Prior to the laser, for the previous decade physicians have been using radio frequency ablation to treat varicose veins. One of the reasons UCSD opted to begin laser treatment is that radio frequency (RF) ablation has been associated with slightly less closure of the vein and a relatively high recurrence rate compared to the laser. The new laser treatment also does not produce any of the potential complications caused by RF ablation, which include skin burns, neuropathy, pain, and leg swelling.