One of the most frequent questions asked is will the procedures hurt. This is often a difficult question to answer, because everyone experiences pain differently. There are some patients that report no pain after the procedure and for some patients the pain can be significant. For the purposes of this discussion we will discuss the average of what most of our patients experience.
The EVTA or laser procedure is usually done on long, large diameter veins. This procedure uses heat to close the vein permanently, however, the heat also causes temporary surrounding tissue damage and this is what causes most of the post-procedure pain. The actual procedure itself is not painful because local anesthesia is used. Most of the time patients say that for about 2 weeks afterwards they experience a sometimes sharp but mostly a dull achy pain. This can be constant for the first week and by the second week the pain reduces daily until it’s gone. Most of our patients can use Tylenol or Ibuprofen for pain but some patient require something stronger.
People often describe a cord like sensation that resembles a pulled muscle. This sensation results from the treated vein shrinking in length and causing a tightness. This can last for 1-2 months sometimes, as the vein is resolving. Patient often become concerned that something will tear or break, but that does not happen and some mild to medium stretching of the leg can help this resolve faster.
One of the side effects of EVTA can be paresthesia or numbness, this usually occurs on the inside of the calf sometimes from the knee down to the ankle. This results from a sensory nerve that is close to the treated vein becoming ablated. The numbness is temporary for most patients but can take several months to resolve. Often while the nerve is repairing itself patients can experience a tingling or burning sensation. There is a small percentage of patients that this numbness never completely resolves in, and they describe a funny sensation while shaving their legs or putting on socks. This does not effect function of the leg at all.