Endovenous laser ablation (EVLA): a review of mechanisms, modeling outcomes, and issues for debate.

Lasers in medical science

PubMedID: 24366291

Malskat WS, Poluektova AA, van der Geld CW, Neumann HA, Weiss RA, Bruijninckx CM, van Gemert MJ. Endovenous laser ablation (EVLA): a review of mechanisms, modeling outcomes, and issues for debate. Lasers Med Sci. 2013;.
Endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) is a commonly used and very effective minimally invasive therapy to manage leg varicosities. Yet, and despite a clinical history of 16 years, no international consensus on a best treatment protocol has been reached so far. Evidence presented in this paper supports the opinion that insufficient knowledge of the underlying physics amongst frequent users could explain this shortcoming. In this review, we will examine the possible modes of action of EVLA, hoping that better understanding of EVLA-related physics stimulates critical appraisal of claims made concerning the efficacy of EVLA devices, and may advance identifying a best possible treatment protocol. Finally, physical arguments are presented to debate on long-standing, but often unfounded, clinical opinions and habits. This includes issues such as (1) the importance of laser power versus the lack of clinical relevance of laser energy (Joule) as used in Joule per centimeter vein length, i.e., in linear endovenous energy density (LEED), and Joule per square centimeter vein wall area, (2) the predicted effectiveness of a higher power and faster pullback velocity, (3) the irrelevance of whether laser light is absorbed by hemoglobin or water, and (4) the effectiveness of reducing the vein diameter during EVLA therapy.