Varicose vein treatment with fiber lasers

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  • Thread starter DariusP
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

So I've read that varicose veins can be treated using fibre lasers. First, anesthetics are used locally to numb the limb and also act as an insulator for heat. Then, a small cut is made and a fiber is guided to the vein.

Using laser light somehow the vein shrinks.

This is what I don't understand. Why does the vein shrink?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
phinds
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A laser is a highly focused beam of light. A doctor can use a laser to treat varicose veins. Laser heat damages a vein, which makes scar tissue form. This scar tissue closes the vein. A closed vein loses its source of blood and dies. After a year or two, the vein is likely to disappear.
 
  • #3
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You know, that is a pretty terrible answer... "it shrinks because it shrinks".

It tells me nothing. No physics, no biology there. Did that explanation really satisfy you?

I want to know exactly what the light is doing. I want to know what the photons are doing, how they are interacting and with whom. Seriously...
 
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  • #4
jim mcnamara
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@phinds gave you a good answer.
The vein shrinks because the tissue of the vein is dead. The cells were killed by heat:
Intense laser light is absorbed and the heat generated, a fatal temperature for the tissue. This is to the point where the proteins in the cells became denatured and the cell membranes were disrupted. Water left the dead cells.

The same thing that happens much more slowly when you cook meat. It shrinks as you cook it.

The defunct tissue forms a "scar" and is eventually cleaned up by phagoctosis from scavenging white blood cells.
 
  • #5
jim mcnamara
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This thread is now closed.
 

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