When the first laser was invented in 1960, no one knew exactly what to do with it. Lasers were called “A solution without a problem.” But creativity soon took over and people imagined a range of uses, from metal etching to really impressive light shows.
Scientists quickly learned how to vary the strength of lasers – strong to burn through metal and mild for the annoying laser pointer. It took a while longer for engineers to come up with laser discs to record music, barcode scanners and laser printers.
Lasers for Medical Treatments
While doctors devised ways to use lasers in medicine, they first were employed against varicose veins only to treat the form called spider veins. Short pulses of focused light could close the tiny veins that are near the surface of the skin. It wasn’t until 1999 that doctors began using lasers to treat varicose veins deeper inside the leg. The modern treatment actually owes much to interventional radiology, the practice that includes treatments like angioplasty and other minimally invasive medical techniques.
Endovenous Laser Treatment
In the technique called endovenous laser treatment (EVT), your doctor will use ultrasound to locate the diseased vein and then guide a catheter into it. A laser-emitting fiber will be inserted through the catheter. Pulses from the laser create scar tissue to form in the vein, which causes it to close. When blood no longer flows through the vein, it is absorbed into your body.
EVT requires only small incisions and small doses of localized anesthesia. You can walk out of the doctor’s office soon after treatment.
It’s the kind of solution that is commonplace today, but that no one could conceive of when the laser was first invented. Interested in EVT to treat your varicose veins? Schedule a free consultation with our doctors.