What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged veins that can be blue, red or flesh colored. They are often raised above the skin on legs and look like twisted bulging cords. Varicose veins occur when the valves in the veins that carry blood from the legs toward the heart no longer function, causing blood to pool in the legs.
Spider veins, while similar, are clusters of tiny blood vessels that develop close to the surface of the skin. They are often red, blue, or purple in color. They get their name from the spiderweb appearance they have on the skin and are commonly found on the face and legs. Spider veins can be a sign of blood backup, which could lead to the same symptoms shown with varicose veins.
What is Chronic Venus Insufficiency (CVI)?
Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) is a progressive medical condition that worsens over time and affects the veins and vessels in the leg that carry oxygen-poor blood back toward the heart. Varicose veins, which are enlarged veins in the leg that appear like twisted, bulging cords, can progress to CVI if left untreated.
There are a number of factors that contribute to varicose veins and CVI, including pregnancy and heredity. As varicose veins progress to become CVI, other painful symptoms like leg swelling, skin damage and ulcers may occur.
Minimally Invasive Treatments
Today, there are a number of minimally invasive treatment options that are covered by many insurance plans. While treatments like compression stockings are often first prescribed to manage symptoms, there are a variety of treatments that can actually treat the diseased veins to eliminate varicose veins, improve your quality of life and halt the progression of CVI. Below are options for varicose vein surgery in the Peoria area.
Endovenous thermal ablation is a minimally invasive treatment that involves the insertion of a thin, flexible tube called a catheter into a diseased vein to seal it shut using heat. Blood that would normally return toward the heart through these veins will then travel through other veins instead. Over time the treated vein shrinks and is absorbed by the body. Compared with surgical options like ligation and vein stripping, endovenous ablation results in less pain and quicker recovery time.
Venefit™ Targeted Endovenous Therapy
The Venefit™ procedure is the only minimally invasive segmental radiofrequency (RF) ablation treatment that utilizes radiofrequency energy to provide an even and uniform heat to contract the collagen in the vein walls, causing them to collapse and seal. Once a leg vein is closed, blood flow is redirected to healthy veins.
The Venefit procedure allows for a quick, comfortable recovery and a return to everyday activities, while also improving the appearance of varicose veins.
Is Venefit For Me?
Venefit™ Targeted Endovenous Therapy is an effective treatment for varicose veins and Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI).
In a comparative multi-center study on the treatment of great saphenous reflux, the Venefit™ procedure delivered by the ClosureFast™ catheter demonstrated less pain, less bruising, and fewer complications than 980 nm laser ablation.
To determine if the Venefit procedure is right for you, we invite you to speak with one of our vein specialists. UnityPoint Clinic® Surgery - Peoria offers FREE vein screenings at all of our office locations. Call us at 309-672-5975 to arrange your FREE screening.
The Venefit™ procedure is a minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins and Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) in which a vein specialist inserts a Covidien ClosureFast™ Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) Catheter to collapse and close enlarged leg veins. After the vein is sealed shut, blood then naturally re-routes to healthy veins.
The Venefit Procedure: What to Expect
The ClosureFast™ catheter is inserted into the vein through a tiny incision below the knee. Guided by ultrasound imaging, the physician treats a 7 cm segment of vein with a 20-second burst of radiofrequency energy, causing the vessel to shrink around the catheter. The physician withdraws the catheter, treating each segment until the entire length of the vein has been sealed. An average 45 cm length vein can be treated in this manner in just three to five minutes.
Unlike painful vein stripping surgery or laser ablation, the catheter delivers uniform, consistent heat to each segment and temperatures do not exceed 120°C.1 As a result, the Venefit procedure causes less bruising and allows for rapid patient relief and recovery.2 The Venefit procedure is commonly performed in an office or an outpatient setting and is covered by most health insurance in the United States and in several countries in Europe.
The Venefit Procedure Advantage:
The Venefit procedure eliminates the need for groin surgery and general anesthesia. The procedure also results in little to no scarring and is generally performed using local anesthesia in a vein specialist's office or an outpatient surgical facility.
Less Pain, Less Bruising, Faster Recovery
The 2009 RECOVERY Study compared the experience of patients treated with the ClosureFast catheter and those treated with the 980 nm laser. The study demonstrated:
Less pain, bruising and complications with the ClosureFast catheter2
Up to four times faster improvement in patients' quality of life with ClosureFast catheter versus laser based on a quality of life questionnaire2
Other studies have shown that patients receiving the Venefit procedure return to normal activity and work significantly faster than those undergoing vein stripping.
Excellent Clinical Outcomes
The ClosureFast catheter has been shown in a prospective, international multi-center study to be 93% effective at three years using Kaplan Meier analysis.
The Venefit procedure is performed as a medical necessity as diagnosed by a trained vein specialist. It is not designed to address spider veins or cosmetic issues. However, the successful treatment of CVI using the Venefit procedure can produce cosmetic improvements. As with any medical procedure, you should consult your vein specialist and review all safety information associated with any procedure.
Here is a list of common myths and misunderstandings about varicose veins and spider veins, as well as the truth behind these conditions and their treatment.
1 - Myth: Varicose veins are not a result of prolonged standing or sitting
Truth: Those spending significant time on their feet are at higher risk for developing varicose veins. It is recommended that those with careers where they are often on their feet, such as restaurant servers or athletes, rest each day by elevating their feet above their heart.
2- Myth: Crossing legs often contributes to varicose veins and CVI
Truth: Crossing your legs has little correlation to varicose veins and CVI. However, being overweight often contributes to the formation of varicose veins, with the added pressure on the legs and ankles causing the veins to bulge and blood flow to be disrupted. Regular exercise is recommended to increase blood flow in the legs and maintain a healthy weight to mitigate conditions that can lead to CVI, particularly varicose veins.
3 - Myth: Spider veins are the same thing as varicose veins
Truth: Both varicose and spider veins are caused by dysfunctional valves inside the veins. However, spider veins appear as a nest of blue or red veins just under the surface of the skin, and do not protrude from beneath the skin. Though they do not pose a medical risk, spider veins can be removed with minimally invasive procedures for cosmetic reasons.
4 - Myth: Men are not at risk for developing varicose veins and CVI
Truth: Men, though less likely than women to develop varicose veins, are at risk for CVI. In fact, 42% of men are expected to develop varicose veins by the time they reach their 60s.3 However, a majority of those do not seek treatment until symptoms worsen.
5 - Myth: Insufficient hydration has been shown to contribute to varicose veins and CVI
Truth: Insufficient hydration has little correlation to varicose veins. However, lower limb trauma has shown to contribute to symptoms leading to CVI.1 And, during pregnancy, there is increased pressure on the veins in the pelvis that may contribute to the creation of varicose veins in the legs.
6 – Myth: Varicose veins are a cosmetic issue and don't need to be treated
Truth: Varicose veins, though often thought of as a cosmetic nuisance, can actually progress to CVI, a more serious medical condition. CVI is a progressive disease that can result in increasingly serious symptoms if not treated, including leg pain, swelling, skin damage and ulcers. And, as a treatable condition, varicose veins can be mitigated by various minimally invasive treatments before they progress, including Venefit™ Targeted Endovenous Therapy.
7 - Myth: Genetics and age do not factor into the development of varicose veins and CVI
Truth: Genetics and age are large contributors to varicose veins and CVI development. In fact, women older than 50 are most likely to develop CVI4. And, if you have a family member who suffers from varicose veins or symptoms of CVI, you are more likely than others to develop varicose veins in your lifetime.
8 - Myth: Varicose veins and CVI treatments are just too expensive to consider
Truth: Because varicose veins can progress to a more serious medical condition called CVI, many insurance plans will cover treatment of varicose veins.
1. What is Venefit™ Targeted Endovenous Therapy?
The Venefit™ procedure is a minimally invasive treatment that uses radiofrequency (RF) energy to effectively treat patients suffering from varicose veins or Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI). A vein specialist inserts a catheter into a diseased vein to provide consistent and uniform heat to contract the collagen in the vein walls, causing them to collapse and close. After the vein is sealed shut, blood is then naturally redirected to healthy veins.
The 2009 RECOVERY Study confirms that patients experience less bruising and pain, and fewer complications with the Covidien ClosureFast™ Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) Catheter in comparison to 980 nm laser ablation.
The Venefit procedure also results in little to no scarring and is generally performed using local anesthesia in a vein specialist's office or an outpatient surgical facility.
2. What is Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI)?
CVI is a progressive medical condition in which the valves that carry blood from the legs to the heart no longer function, causing blood to pool in the legs and veins to swell. This incorrect blood flow (or reflux) causes veins to expand, lose form and protrude from beneath the skin. Common symptoms include pain, leg swelling, leg heaviness and fatigue as well as skin changes and ulcers in more severe cases.
Varicose veins are often thick, bulging veins that can protrude well beyond the skin's surface. Often misunderstood as a cosmetic issue, varicose veins can progress to CVI, which is a more serious condition.
3. How do you treat varicose veins and CVI?
Since the valves in the legs cannot be repaired, the only alternative is to re-route blood flow from the diseased veins to healthy veins. Traditionally, this has been done by surgically removing (stripping) the troublesome vein from your leg. The Venefit procedure, however, provides a less invasive alternative to vein stripping by simply closing the diseased vein. Once the diseased vein is closed, it becomes scar tissue and is eventually absorbed by the body.
4. How is the Venefit procedure different from vein stripping?
Vein stripping is a surgical procedure, where the surgeon makes an incision in your groin and ties off the vein, after which a "stripper" tool is threaded through the leg vein in order to pull it out through a second incision just above the calf.
The Venefit procedure is minimally invasive. In contrast to vein stripping, the vein remains in place and is closed using a special catheter inserted through a small incision below the knee.
Vein stripping is usually performed in an operating room under a general anesthetic, while the Venefit procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, typically using local or regional anesthesia.
5. How is the Venefit procedure different from the laser ablation treatment?
The Venefit procedure utilizes radio frequency energy to provide consistent and controlled heat to contract the collagen in the vein walls, causing them to gently collapse and seal. Once a leg vein is closed, blood flow is redirected to healthy veins.
Laser ablation, on the other hand, uses laser heat to collapse and seal the affected vein. The laser targets the blood in the vein, which causes the blood to boil. This heat creates a steam bubble inside the vein, creating damage to the vein so that the vein collapses. Unlike the Venefit procedure, laser temperatures can reach over 700 °C. Animal studies have shown that laser can potentially lead to perforation and destruction of the vein walls, causing significantly more bruising and post-procedure pain for patients.
The 2009 RECOVERY Study compared the experience of patients treated with the Venefit procedure and those treated with 980 nm laser ablation. The findings clearly demonstrated that:
The Venefit procedure resulted in less pain, less bruising and fewer complications.
The Venefit procedure proved to be up to four times faster in improving patients' quality of life.
6. How long does the Venefit procedure take?
The Venefit procedure takes approximately 45-60 minutes, although patients may normally spend 2-3 hours at the medical facility due to normal pre- and post-treatment procedures.
7. Is the Venefit procedure painful?
Most patients report feeling little, if any, pain during the Venefit procedure. Your physician will give you a local or regional anesthetic to numb the treatment area.
8. Does it require anesthesia?
The Venefit procedure can be performed under local, regional or general anesthesia. It is generally performed using local anesthesia in a vein specialist's office or an outpatient surgical facility.
9. How quickly after treatment can I return to normal activities?
Many patients experience a quicker return to normal activities. For a few weeks following the treatment, your vein specialist may recommend a regular walking regimen and suggest you refrain from very strenuous activities (heavy lifting, for example) or prolonged periods of standing.
10. How soon after treatment will my symptoms improve?
Most patients report a noticeable improvement in their symptoms within one to two weeks following the procedure.
11. Is there any scarring, bruising or swelling after the Venefit procedure?
Patients report minimal to no scarring, bruising or swelling following the Venefit procedure.
12. What potential risks and complications are associated with the Venefit procedure?
As with any medical intervention, potential risks and complications exist with the Venefit procedure. All patients should consult their vein specialist to determine if their conditions present any special risks. Your vein specialist will review potential complications of the Venefit procedure at the consultation, which can include vessel perforation, thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, phlebitis, hematoma, infection, paresthesia (numbness or tingling) and/or skin burn.
13. Is the Venefit procedure suitable for everyone?
Only a vein specialist can tell you if the Venefit procedure is the right option for your vein problem. Experience has shown that many patients with CVI can be treated with the Venefit procedure.
14. Is age an important consideration for the Venefit procedure?
The most important step in determining whether or not the Venefit procedure is appropriate for you is a complete ultrasound examination by your vein specialist. 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 both women and men across a wide range of ages.
15. How effective is the Venefit procedure?
The Venefit procedure has been shown in a large international, multi-center study to be 93% effective over three years.
16. 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 be completely absorbed into surrounding tissue.
17. Is the Venefit procedure covered by my insurance?
Many insurance companies pay for the Venefit procedure in part or in full. The Venefit procedure has coverage policies with major health insurers. Your vein specialist can discuss your insurance coverage further at the time of consultation.