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Varicose vein frequently asked questions

What causes varicose veins?

Varicose veins develop when the valves in the veins don’t function properly and there is a backflow of blood. Factors that can increase your chances of developing varicose veins include pregnancy, occupation, genetics, age, and obesity.

What are spider veins?

Spider veins are tiny, threadlike veins that are close to the surface of the skin. They are often purple or red. Veinwave treatment works best on the red ones.

What is superficial venous reflux?

Superficial venous reflux is a condition that develops when the valves that usually keep blood flowing out of your legs become damaged or diseased. This causes blood to pool in your legs. Common symptoms of superficial venous reflux include pain, swelling, leg heaviness and fatigue, restless legs, itching, as well as varicose veins in your legs.

What is the VENEFIT procedure?

The Venefit procedure is a minimally invasive treatment for superficial venous reflux. A thin catheter is inserted into the vein through a small opening. The catheter delivers thermal energy to the vein wall, causing it to heat, collapse, and seal shut. It is also known as radiofrequency ablation (RFA).

How does it work to treat superficial venous reflux?

Since valves can’t be repaired easily, the only alternative is to re-route blood flow through healthy veins. Traditionally, this has been done by surgically removing (stripping) the troublesome vein from your leg. The Venefit procedure provides a less invasive alternative to vein stripping by simply closing the problem vein instead. Once the diseased vein is closed, other healthy veins take over and empty blood from your legs.

How is the VENEFIT procedure different from vein stripping?

During a stripping procedure, the surgeon makes an incision in your groin and ties off the vein, after which a stripper tool is threaded through the saphenous vein and used to pull the vein out of your leg through a second incision just above your calf. In the Venefit procedure, there is no need for  surgery. Instead, the vein remains in place and is closed using a special  catheter inserted through a small incision. This may eliminate the bruising and pain often associated with vein stripping (i.e., that may result from the tearing of side branch veins while the saphenous vein is pulled out). Vein stripping is usually performed in an operating room, under a general anesthetic, while the Venefit procedure is performed on an outpatient basis using local anesthesia.

Is the VENEFIT procedure painful? When can I resume activity?

Although some people are more sensitive than others, patients generally report little pain both during the procedure and post procedure as well. Immediately post procedure patients are asked to go for a brief walk to immediately access the result. Many patients typically return to normal activities within a few days. For a few weeks following the treatment, we recommend a regular walking regimen, usually 30-60 minutes once or twice daily, and suggest you refrain from very strenuous activities (heavy lifting, for example) or prolonged periods of standing. Specific questions regarding exercise and work activities shoud be addressed wtih Dr Stevens.

How soon after treatment will my symptoms improve?

Most patients report a noticeable improvement in their symptoms or varicsoities within 1-2 weeks following the procedure, although it may ultimately take several additional weeks to fully assess the adequacy of the procedure.

Is there any scarring, bruising, or swelling after the VENEFIT procedure?

Patients report minimal to no scarring, bruising, or swelling following the Venefit procedure.

Are there any potential risks and complications associated with the VENEFIT PROcedure?

As with any medical intervention, potential risks and complications exist with the Venefit procedure. All patients should consult their doctors to determine if their conditions present any special risks. Dr Stevens will review potential complications of the Venefit procedure at the consultation, and can be reviewed in the safety summary. Potential complications can include: vessel perforation, thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, phlebitis, hematoma, infection, adjacent nerve injury (tingling or numbness) and/or skin burn.

Is the VENEFIT Procedure suitable for everyone?

Only a physician can tell you if the Venefit procedure is a viable option for your vein problem. Experience has shown that many patients with superficial venous reflux disease can be treated with the Venefit procedure, with over 500,000 patients treated worldwide to date over the last ten years.

Is age an important consideration for the VENEFIT procedure?

The most important steps in determining whether or not the Venefit procedure is appropriate for you is a complete ultrasound examination by your physician along with a comprehensive history and physical examination. Age alone is not a factor in determining whether or not the Venefit procedure is appropriate for you. The Venefit procedure has been used to treat patients across a wide range of ages.

What happens to the treated vein left behind in the leg?

The vein simply becomes fibrous tissue after treatment. Over time, the vein will gradually incorporate into surrounding tissue.

Is the Venefit covered by my insurance?

Many insurance companies are paying for the Venefit procedure in part or in full. Most insurance companies determine coverage for all treatments, including the Venefit procedure, based on medical necessity. The Venefit procedure has positive coverage policies with most major health insurers. We can discuss your insurance coverage further at the time of consultation coordinated with our billing department.

What is ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy?

Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy is used when there are deeper veins that are causing symptoms or these veins are still contributing to the existing varicose veins. It is a very simple procedure that takes less than 30 minutes to perform. At times, it is performed at the time of the radiofrequency ablation, and at other times it is performed separately. Using the ultrasound, Dr. Stevens will locate the veins to be injected and slowly inject a solution called Sotradecol or polidocanol that will cause the vessel walls to become damaged. Over time, your body will reabsorb these damaged veins much like it would a bruise. Expect some mild bruising and on occasion, you will experience some hard lumps and bumps where the veins were. These may be tender but will resolve over time. Sometime, you may experience some brownish discoloration after these injections but that will also resolve over time. You will wear your compression stockings for 3 days after the injection and followup will be scheduled. It is possible you will require a second session if all the veins have not resolved. Normal activities can be resumed within a few days post procedure

How are small varicose veins treated with sclerotherapy?

Spider veins can be treated with sclerotherapy. These veins usually have “feeder veins” that need to be treated along with the smaller veins that you see. Treating spider veins is a process and the average patient will require 3-5 sessions spaced 4-6 weeks apart. It is important to understand that each vein needs treated several times before resolution is achieved. All veins are hereditary so while we can eliminate what you have, you can make more throughout your life. The procedures are very tolerable since the needles used are extremely small and the solution is usually not painful. After the treatment, you may experience some bruising from the injections.You will be asked to wear your compression stockings for 3 days and scheduled for your next treatment in 4-6 weeks if necessary.

Are SCLEROTHERAPY procedures covered by insurance?

Most insurance companies cover vein treatment procedures in part or in full if they are deemed medically necessary. For more information about which insurance providers we contract with, please visit our Insurance page.

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