What is ELVeS?
ELVeS (Endo Laser Vein System) is an innovative, minimally-invasive treatment for varicose veins. The system uses laser energy, delivered via narrow fibers, to seal a diseased vein shut and stop blood flow through the vessel. The treatment vein is eventually reabsorbed by the body and blood is rerouted through healthy veins nearby.
ELVes is a treatment option for larger varicose veins. These veins often become twisted and bulge above the skin’s surface, becoming a significant cosmetic concern. Varicose veins of this size may also be accompanied by uncomfortable symptoms, including heavy or aching legs, night cramping and swelling. When left unchecked, the venous insufficiency that leads to varicose veins may also result in the formation of painful skin ulcers around the ankle.
ELVeS effectively eliminates the appearance of these varicose veins. It can also eradicate the symptoms that often accompany them. This procedure is a new option to vein stripping and ligation, which was more invasive and required recovery time afterward.
When is it done?
ELVeS addresses varicose veins too large for sclerotherapy treatment, as well as smaller veins. It is an alternative to more invasive surgical procedures. With the help of ultrasound imaging, ELVeS can even be used on deeper varicose veins, since ultrasound technology helps the physician pinpoint the precise location of the affected vein under the skin’s surface.
How does the procedure work?
ELVeS is performed in a physician’s office as an outpatient procedure. The patient may be given local or topical anesthetic prior to the procedure. The area to be treated is cleansed and marked in preparation for the laser. Ultrasound technology may be used to pinpoint the location of the vein, if needed.
Once the area is prepared, the physician inserts a narrow laser fiber through the skin and directly into the affected vein. Laser heat is administered inside the vein, causing the vein to constrict and seal shut. Because treatment takes place inside the vein, surrounding tissue and vessels are left undamaged. The fiber is than slowly removed from the leg and a compression bandage is applied.
The entire procedure usually takes less than one hour, although patients are usually at the physician’s office for two to three hours to accommodate for pre- and post-procedure care. After treatment, the patient is typically observed for a short time, to ensure no complications arise. At that point, walking is encouraged, to promote blood flow and healing to the treated area. Compression stockings are also prescribed for the same purpose.
What is the recovery like?
Most patients can return to regular activities immediately following ELVeS treatment, although heavy lifting and strenuous exercise are discouraged for a number of days. Some patients experience swelling or bruising around the area where the laser fiber was inserted, which dissipate on their own within a few days. Compression stockings and regular walking help to minimize this side effect.
When will the results appear?
Results of ELVeS are usually seen right away, and continue to improve over time. It generally takes one week for the vein to seal shut completely. At that time, the reabsorption process will begin. Symptoms that accompanied the varicose vein will be relieved right after treatment as well.
How many treatment sessions are needed?
Most varicose veins can be effectively treated with just one session of ELVeS. However, additional sessions may be required if there is more than one vein to address. Other veins in the area may also be treated with other types of vein procedures, including sclerotherapy.
Will veins reappear after treatment?
A vein treated with ELVeS is eliminated from the body over time, and therefore will not reappear. However, conditions that resulted in the faulty vein valves that led to the varicose veins may be repeated in other vessels. If additional varicose veins appear, a variety of treatments may be used to address these veins as well.
What is the cost of ELVeS?
Cost for an ELVeS treatment will vary, based on where the procedure is performed and the number of veins to be addressed. If a patient is experiencing uncomfortable symptoms with the varicose vein, or an underlying vein condition is diagnosed, insurance coverage is likely to be available. Procedures done for strictly cosmetic reasons may not be covered, but financing options are often available through the physician providing the service.