New Laser Treatment Virtually Erases Vein Pain
Release Date: 03/09/2007

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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa—The Diagnostic Center at Alegent Health Mercy Hospital offering a virtually pain-free way to eliminate bulging and twisting varicose veins that affect the quality of life of millions of men and women. The EVLT® (EndoVenous Laser Treatment) is a quick, minimally invasive procedure people in Southwest Iowa can take advantage of that has proven safe and effective for the treatment of varicose veins with little recovery time and virtually no scars.

“For people who deal with varicose veins, the EVLT® procedure is proving to be a life changing experience,” said Gregory Eckert, M.D., a radiologist with Alegent Health Mercy Hospital. “And it’s easy to see why. Patients come in for the procedure in the morning and by early afternoon, they’re back on their feet with immediate relief from the pain and suffering of these veins and virtually no bruising or scarring,” said Eckert.

The EVLT® procedure works by using laser energy to seal off a vein that is not allowing blood to flow through it properly. A physician uses an ultrasound to map out the faulty vein and then inserts a laser fiber inside the length of the vein through a tiny entry point that is usually located near the knee. Applying laser energy, the vein walls are damaged causing them to shrink and close so that blood can no longer flow through and is diverted to healthy veins.

The entire procedure takes less than two hours to complete and can be performed in an outpatient setting. The benefits are immediate relief in symptoms and patients are usually able to return to their normal activity with little or no pain and no scars. Clinical studies show the EVLT® procedure has a 98 percent initial success rate with excellent long-term results. Prior to EVLT®, people could rid themselves of the problem through a procedure called vein stripping or ligation, a very extensive and painful procedure that involves the complete removal of the varicose vein, often resulting in long recovery time.
Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted, painful superficial veins resulting from poorly functioning valves. They are mainly found on the backs of the calves or on the inside of the leg and affect an estimated 10 to 20 percent of adult men and women. While the cause of varicose veins is not known, a number of factors can contribute to varicose veins including: heredity, gender, age, obesity and occupation.

There is no way to stop varicose veins from developing. However, Dr. Eckert suggests there are ways to prevent or alleviate the symptoms of varicose veins and slow down their progression including: maintaining a healthy weight, controlling salt intake to prevent water retention or swelling, and avoiding leg crossing while sitting, prolonged periods of sitting or standing, and wearing tight clothing that could constrict your waist, groin or legs.

For more information about the EVLT procedure or to schedule an appointment, please contact 1-800-ALEGENT or go to Alegent.com.