Varicose veins affect more than 10 percent of all American adults with discomfort, swelling and appearance concerns. The condition, known medically as superficial venous reflux, develops when the valves that usually keep blood flowing out of the legs become damaged or diseased. This is what causes the pooling of blood and resulting varicose veins. Several factors contribute to the presence of varicose veins, including age, gender, family history, multiple pregnancies, obesity, and a profession that requires prolonged standing. Symptoms left untreated will sometimes worsen over time.
There is a solution, however. It’s called VNUS Closure and, unlike painful vein stripping procedures of the past, VNUS Closure is minimally invasive and patients can typically be back to normal activities within a day. Since valves can’t be repaired, the only alternative is to re-route blood flow through healthy veins. Traditionally, this was done by surgically removing (stripping) the troublesome veins from the leg. The VNUS Closure procedure provides a less invasive alternative by simply closing the problem vein instead. Once the diseased vein is closed, other healthy veins take over and empty blood from the legs.
The VNUS Closure procedure is performed on an outpatient basis. Using ultrasound, the physician positions a tiny catheter into the diseased vein through a small opening in the skin. The catheter delivers radio-frequency energy in the form of heat to the vein wall, causing the collagen in the wall to shrink and the vein to close. Once the diseased vein is closed, blood is re-routed to other healthy veins. The diseased vein simply becomes fibrous tissue after treatment and gradually incorporates into surrounding tissue. Patients report feeling little, if any pain during the procedure, and have noticeable improvement in their symptoms within 1-2 weeks afterward.
Many insurance companies pay for the VNUS Closure procedure in part or in full, based on medical necessity and previous, non-surgical therapies. An ultrasound scan of the leg(s) by a physician will determine if superficial venous reflux is present and whether or not the VNUS Closure procedure is a viable option for treatment.
Fort HealthCare Surgical Associates surgeon Bill Kontny, M.D. performs the VNUS Closure procedure on an outpatient basis in the Fort Atkinson office. Patients interested in learning about their candidacy for this treatment can make an appointment by calling 920.563.7900.
Physician profiles and a presentation on the procedure is also available on the video library of the Fort HealthCare website, at www.FortHealthCare.com.