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An Overview of Vein Ablation Complications

The varicose veins condition can be distressing and disfiguring equally for both men and women, though it is more prevalent in the women. This condition happens when the valves in the veins in the ankles, feet, and lower part of the legs weaken or die, thus pushing the blood from the heart toward the legs, resulting in twisted and engorged veins that bulge from the skin surface. In many cases, the varicose veins condition is only a cosmetic concern being symptomatic, while in many others, people affected with varicosities experience burning, painful aching, bleeding, and itching symptoms.

There are various treatment procedures for varicose veins that include sclerotherapy and laser ablation methods – Endovenous Laser Treatment (ELST). In the former treatment a solution is injected into the affected veins to close it. In the latter procedure, the veins are closed with the help of laser ray. However, all these treatments though effective, can cause some vein ablation complications.

Recurrence: If varicose veins are not removed completely in one treatment, then the patient might need some additional treatment. However, this recurrence rate is only 5%, where lower energy laser rays are applied in order to avoid damaging the skin.

Scarring: The laser ablation treatment also results in some scarring. The scar could occur at the point of the incision from where the catheter gets inserted into the leg. In this treatment, some moderate risks of scars and burns could occur, on the areas where laser ray penetrates the skin. However, as these procedures are performed by highly experienced professionals, there is very little risk of scarring.

Bleeding and bruising: The procedure of endovenous laser treatment requires doing a small incision in the leg for inserting a thin catheter that goes into the affected vein. The closed vein is removed within a few weeks from the body. This procedure could result in bleeding and bruising at the incision site and along the treated vein. Though bleeding from the incision site does not last longer than thirty minutes once the treatment is over, bruising can last for a few weeks. Laser ablation procedure can be very painful and is generally performed under local anesthesia. Though the numbness in the legs wears off after the treatment is done, burning sensation with aching can occur for a few more days. In some rare cases, temporary loss of sensation due to the damaged nerves also occurs, along the treated veins.

Phlebitis: Another common complication associated with ELST is phlebitis or thrombophlebitis. This is a condition where the blood forms clots in more than one vein near the skin surface, resulting in swelling. Individuals affected with this condition could experience, redness, pain, warmth, and tenderness in the affected area. Sometimes, it might affect the neck and arms as well. People who have undergone the endovenous laser treatment, sometimes experience tenderness and redness near the affected veins after the treatment procedure, because of blood accumulation and irritation at the site of the treatment. However, this complication generally improves within 3 to 7 days. The doctors advise some self-care steps like application of heat to the affected area, elevating the leg, and wearing compression stocking.

Dr. Chane

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