KidsMD Health Topics

Request an Appointment

If this is a medical emergency, please dial 9-1-1. This form should not be used in an emergency.

Patient Information
Date of Birth:
Contact Information
Appointment Details
Send RequestIf you do not see the specialty you are looking for, please call us at: 617-355-6000.International visitors should call International Health Services at +1-617-355-5209.
Please complete all required fields

This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

Thank you.

Your request has been successfully submitted

You will be contacted within 1 business day.

If you have questions or would like more information, please call:

617-355-6000 +1-617-355-6000
Find a Doctor
Search by Clinician's Last Name or Specialty:
Select by Location:
Search by First Letter of Clinician's Last Name: *ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Condition & Treatments
Search for a Condition or Treatment:
View allSearch

Endovenous Laser Ablation

  • Endovenous laser ablation is a minimally invasive technique used for treating some types of vascular malformations.

    • An interventional radiologist, using image guidance, inserts a catheter into the malformed vessels of the affected area. A laser fiber is then insertedthrough the catheter.
    • When activated, the laser produces energy that causes the blood within the abnormal veins to heat and bubble, damaging the cells in the wall of the vein.
    • The malformed veins shrink in the weeks to months following the procedure and your child’s body reroutes blood through healthy, well-functioning veins.

    How Children’s Hospital Boston approaches endovenous laser ablation

    This procedure in children is different than in adults, because children have smaller and more delicate blood vessels. Our interventional radiologists are skilled in using the specialized techniques and small catheters necessary to perform endovenous laser ablation in children.

    In addition to the interventional radiologist, your child will be treated by a team of anesthesiologists, nurse practitioners, nurses and technologists who specialize in caring for children who have undergone interventional radiology procedures and treatments.

    We perform endovenous laser ablation in our suite on the second floor of the hospital, which features three procedure rooms equipped with the latest imaging technology, a recovery area for patients who have received sedation or anesthesia, and examining rooms for outpatient visits.

    Contact Us
    Children's Hospital Boston
    300 Longwood Avenue 
    Boston MA 02115 

    617-355-6579  fax: 617-730-0541

    Contact us text

  • When is endovenous laser ablation needed?

    Vascular malformations are congenital conditions in which the blood or lymph vessels are abnormally formed, often causing pain, swelling and disfigurement. The procedure can ease some of these symptoms.

    How should I prepare my child for procedure?

    Explain to your child in simple terms why the test is needed and what will happen. You can say that you will be close by and that she may bring a favorite toy or blanket into the procedure room.

    What will happen before the procedure?

    A staff person from the hospital will call you a few days before your appointment to let you know where to go when you arrive at the hospital, as well as to give you instructions about when your child needs to stop eating, drinking and/or taking medications.

    When you arrive at the hospital:

    • The interventional radiologist will talk to you about the procedure and ask you to sign the consent form. (You must be your child’s legal guardian to sign this form. If you are a legal guardian and not a parent, you must bring the paperwork showing proof of legal guardianship.)
    • If your child will be having general anesthesia, a medicine that causes deep sleep, an anesthesiologist will meet with you to explain this and have you sign another consent form.
    • Your child will change into a hospital gown.
    • You and your child will be taken the room where the procedure will be done.
    • A nurse or anesthesiologist may start an intravenous (IV) line.
    • Once your child is asleep, you will be escorted to a special waiting area.

    What happens during the procedure?

    • The radiology technologist cleans the skin with a special liquid to help prevent infection.
    • The interventional radiologist inserts a catheter through a tiny opening in the skin. The laser is then threaded through the catheter and into the blood vessel to be treated.
    • In many cases, the radiologist will also inject a chemical agent called a sclerosant through the same catheter to cause further shrinkage of the malformed veins.
    • When the procedure is finished, the radiologist will remove the laser and the catheter. The nurse then applies a dressing to the tiny opening in the skin. If the vascular malformation involves an arm or leg, a tight wrap or stocking is put on.

    What happens after the procedure?

    We will take your child to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU, or recovery room) to be monitored closely for several hours. You may stay in the unit with your child during this time.

    How will I learn the results?

    The interventional radiologist will speak with you after the procedure and explain the findings and results.

    How long will recovery take?

    The healing process can take several weeks to several months, and your child may feel some pain or “tightness” as the area heals. We may prescribe pain medication; give it to your child as prescribed by your doctor or nurse practitioner.

    We will also advise you on the level of activity your child can have after you go home.

    Is endovenous laser ablation safe?

    This procedure has successfully decreased pain, swelling and disfigurement associated with certain types of vascular malformations. As performed by trained interventional radiologists, this is a safe and effective procedure. However, as with all procedures, there are potential side effects and complications, which will be explained to you by the interventional radiologist before you are asked to consent to the procedure.

    This procedure uses image guidance to visualize your child’s blood vessels and assist the radiologist while performing the procedure. We believe that the benefit to your child’s health outweighs the risk related to any x-ray exposure that occurs during the procedure. Because children are more sensitive to radiation than adults, we have been leaders in adjusting equipment and procedures to deliver the lowest possible dose to young patients.

The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO