Varicose vein laser procedure promises fast, pain-free results


Kim Vargas has been dealing with varicose veins for most of her life.

"They are always big and bulgy, real unattractive looking," she said.

Not to mention, they hurt.

"They started aching more," Vargas said. "Toward the end of the day, I would have to put [my legs] up."

Ten years ago, Vargas had one of her veins stripped. Not only was it painful, she says, it had to be done in an emergency room and it took her nearly six weeks to recover.

"It's a good technique, but the recovery is lengthy -- four to six weeks," vascular surgeon Dr. Ulises Baltazar said. "There is a lot of bruising, sometimes nerve damage that can cause numbness on the leg."

This time, Vargas is trying a new laser procedure that's supposed to eliminate her veins quickly with no down time.

"I'm really anxious to see the blue bulging veins gone and no more pain," she said.

The area is numbed. The doctor makes a small incision to run the laser up the vein. Then, the vein melts away as the laser is backed out.

It takes less than 30 minutes.

"This technique is way more detailed directly to the vein that we want with minimal bleeding," Baltazar said. "There is some bruising occasionally, but it is nothing at all like the old stripping technique."

So did it work?

One week after the laser procedure, the varicose veins are gone.

"I'm young and I want to wear shorts," Vargas said.

Insurance does cover the procedure, but keep in mind that you can only do one leg at a time, so it requires two trips to the doctor.

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