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Varicose Veins New Treatment Replaces Painful Surgery
Varicose veins can now be treated effectively with minimal discomfort in an outpatient setting. With the new ClosureFast light treatment, a tiny catheter closes the culprit vein putting pressure into the varicose veins. With the culprit vein closed, the skin veins are depressurized, producing relief from aching, swelling and fatigue as well as cosmetic improvement. This insurance covered treatment is completed in less than 2 minutes, and patients are out of the office in less than ninety minutes to return to work or normal activity.
In the past physicians were limited to brutal vein stripping or other invasive surgeries. These old fashioned operations often required overnight hospital stays, lost work time and weeks of painful recovery. These procedures were at best a compromise as superficial veins were stripped from the circulatory pathway, never again to perform their function. Years following stripping often symptoms would return along with new bulging veins.
With modern treatment of venous insufficiency, treating the underlying cause of varicose veins depressurizes the superficial skin veins, allowing the diseased, bulging veins to resume normal function. This is a fundamental change in the treatment paradigm.
To understand the treatment of varicose veins, it is important to understand their cause, venous insufficiency. Our circulatory system has four components; the heart, arteries, tissue capillaries, and veins. The heart pumps blood through the arteries to the tissues. Blood filters through tiny capillaries where oxygen and nutrients are delivered. Blood then circulates back to the heart and lungs through the veins. Whereas the heart pressurizes the blood for the trip to the tissues, this pressure is lost to the resistance of the capillary bed, so the pressure directing blood back to the heart in the veins is low. In the head, arms, and chest, gravity helps pull blood into the heart. However gravity works against the return of blood from the lower half of the body. The return of blood from the legs is directed by a series of one-way valves. When we walk, the veins are compressed as our muscles pump and when the valves are working properly blood flows up towards the heart. When these valves leak, gravity wins the battle and pulls blood down where the blood pushes into the bulging skin veins.
Over time this unhealthy circulatory pattern leads to tissue damage, including swelling, dermatitis, and ulceration. As the blood is not flowing, the varicosities may clot, causing phlebitis, or they may rupture and bleed. Additional risks of untreated venous insufficiency include deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, a potentially fatal event. Patients with venous insufficiency may complain of aching, fatigue, itching or restless legs. Symptoms worsen at the end of the day. Relief is obtained with leg elevation, support stockings and pain medication. Because symptom onset is gradual, this disease may take decades to become apparent. Sadly, all too often patients and physicians alike delay seeking care, thinking that the only option is a painful surgery.
“Spider Veins” or telangiectasias are an early sign of venous insufficiency that appear when tiny skin veins, previously invisible, become engorged and enlarge. We evaluate many patients who present for treatment of spider veins, who have had these treated, only to see reappearance after 6-12 months. Worse still, some who opt for superficial treatments of leg spider veins exchange the veins for dark blotches in the skin. The underlying problem is never treated. A careful specialist ultrasound evaluation will usually show a deeper source of reflux in the single source vein.
A new outpatient treatment called the VNUS Closure” Procedure uses radiofrequency energy to close the leaky source vein, and eliminate the cause of varicose veins. With the Closure Procedure, a tiny catheter is placed into the leaky source vein to deliver light energy to the vein wall. This energy causes collagen in the vein to change shape, closing the vein. This elegant procedure is completed in minutes. Patients report minimal or no discomfort and a return to work or normal activity the same day. We perform Closure in our outpatient surgicenter, where our patients enjoy a movie while they are treated. Closure covered by most insurances and is performed in an office setting. Clinical studies have shown outstanding safety, efficacy, and patient satisfaction. Patients are delighted with symptom relief and cosmetic improvement, 98% of whom would recommend Closure for a friend.
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