Thanks to advancements in medical laser
therapy, the pain and lengthy recovery of
surgical “vein stripping” procedures are
no longer necessary. Varicose veins can
now be treated under local anesthesia with
If you have been living with the pain and
self-consciousness of varicose veins, this new
procedure may be right for you.
What are varicose veins?
More than 25 million Americans—45% of
women and 25% of men—suffer from varicose
veins. Veins allow blood from leg muscles to
return to the heart and lungs. Valves in the
veins prevent the backflow of blood that can
lead to swelling of the veins and legs while
standing. When the valves leak and the veins
enlarge, they are called “Varicose.” Pain and
self-consciousness can be just the beginning of
serious problems. Varicose veins can lead to
serious medical conditions such as cellulitis and
even ulceration with tissue loss.
How is laser therapy
different from surgery?
Laser therapy is much less invasive than
traditional surgical procedures and can
be performed on an outpatient basis. It is
performed with local anesthesia, avoiding the
risks of general anesthesia. Only a small incision
is necessary—no stitches or scars. Recovery
time is markedly reduced; you will be on your
feet the same day. Without large incisions, the
risk of infection is extremely low. Only mild
discomfort is expected, which can be treated
with over-the-counter pain relievers.
What is the procedure
The procedure takes about 45 minutes. Under
local anesthesia, the leg is prepared with a
sterile scrub. Using ultrasound to visualize the
enlarged vein, a catheter is inserted through
the skin and positioned within the abnormal
vein. A laser fiber is then inserted through the
catheter and light is applied to the unhealthy
vein, causing it to scar and close. Normal
blood flow is then naturally diverted to the
healthy remaining veins. The procedure is not
Does laser treatment work?
There is a 97% success rate, so it is proven
to be effective. Follow-up procedures can be
considered to obtain optimal aesthetic results.
Is laser treatment safe?
Laser therapies are used throughout medicine
and have proven their safety in many settings.
They allow for precise treatment and offer far
fewer complications than traditional surgery.
The procedure is performed by board-certified
interventional radiologists who specialize in
Will the affects of laser treatment last?
With a 97% success rate, recurrence is very
uncommon. Routine follow-up is required and
can be at a time convenient to you.
Will my insurance
cover laser treatment for varicose veins?
While most insurers cover the procedure, there
may be some pre-requisites. We will work with
you and your insurance company to determine
How do I find out
Call the Interventional Radiology Clinic at
Memorial Medical Center: 217–788–3200
or visit Clinical Radiologists online at