Varicose veins are damaged veins that can appear on the surface of the legs and body.  They often form over time due to a number of factors including genetics, age, hormonal changes, or having a job that requires very long periods of time on your feet. Upon being diagnosed with varicose veins, your vein specialist will most likely prescribe a treatment protocol of laser vein therapy – the gold standard in varicose vein treatment. It is one of the most effective and lowest-risk cosmetic procedures available, and anesthesia is not required. So what exactly is laser vein therapy?

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What Is Laser Vein Therapy?

Laser vein therapy is a cutting-edge procedure used to eliminate certain kinds of superficial varicose veins that are often the root cause of a person’s venous issues. Typically, either the great saphenous vein (which runs along the inside of the thigh and calf) or the small saphenous vein (which runs along the back of the calf) is treated with laser therapy because the one-way valves inside the vein have failed allowing gravity to pull blood backward toward the feet instead of flowing upward toward the heart as it should.   This backflow and back-pressure in the vein can then extend into branch veins causing them to bulge out and cause discomfort. Minimally-invasive Laser Vein Therapy uses the heat of a laser to “close” or seal off the diseased vein(s) causing it to contract and disappear over the course of 6-12 months. Blood is then re-routed through healthy veins back to the heart.  This outpatient vein treatment is performed under local anesthesia right in the comfort and convenience of the office with minimal downtime. It is typically covered by insurance companies and has minimal discomfort and downtime, making it a preferred procedure to eliminate varicose veins.

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How Does Laser Vein Therapy Work?

During an endovenous laser vein therapy procedure, Dr. Robert Cutchen at Albuquerque Vein & Laser Institute places a fine catheter and laser fiber inside the specified vein.  After injecting local anesthetic around the vein, the laser delivers energy into the diseased vein wall causing it to collapse and seal itself shut (also known as an “ablation”). After treatment, the body diverts blood flow to nearby functional veins, improving venous outflow circulation, and significantly reducing the symptoms of varicose veins. Some cosmetic improvement of the varicose veins is often seen, although another minimally-invasive procedure –  ambulatory phlebectomy – may be required to remove some of the visible bulging varicose veins through tiny 2-3mm incisions. Over the course of the next 6 to 12 months, the vein that was treated by laser is absorbed by the body’s own metabolic process.

During the weeks following laser vein therapy, patients are required to wear compression stockings for 3 weeks and walk a minimum of 30 minutes daily. Normal activities can be resumed immediately, but strenuous lifting and exercise are to be avoided for the first 2 weeks. Post-procedure bruising or discomfort may develop, which will subside during the first couple of weeks. Ibuprofen can be taken to reduce any discomfort.

“I highly recommend Dr. Cutchen and the Albuquerque Vein & Laser Institute. I was a patient for laser treatment of veins in both of my legs and I am so happy that I got the care that I was needing. My legs feel normal and healthy again and I am free to return to all of my activities with ease and comfort. I very much appreciate and enjoy my new legs!
I am a Family Nurse Practitioner so my standards are very high whenever I am a patient and my expectations were exceeded! I am eternally grateful!
With much thanks, Lane Bradfield, FNP.” *

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Take The Next Step

If you are ready to explore Laser Vein Therapy,  then it’s time to take the next step by calling Dr. Robert Cutchen, New Mexico’s most trusted vein specialist, at Albuquerque Vein & Laser Institute at 505-848-VEIN or fill out the form on this page and one of our staff members will reach out to you promptly. Albuquerque Vein & Laser Institute is located in the Journal Center area of Albuquerque and proudly serves vein patients throughout the entire Albuquerque area, as well as Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Santa Rosa, Los Lunas and other areas throughout New Mexico.

** This blog provides general information and discussion about medicine, health, and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician.