Some patients see varicose veins as cosmetic annoyances. For others, they are the source of discomfort and significantly upset daily routines. One of the most popular types of vein treatment for this condition is Venefit™, a procedure performed by a vascular surgeon at a vein clinic.
Varicose Veins Overview
Varicose veins occur when valves, primarily in the legs, malfunction. These vessels return blood to the heart for recirculation. According to the Mayo Clinic, with age, valves can weaken. This allows blood that should be traveling upward to flow backward and pool behind the affected valve.
As pools accumulate, blood vessels greatly enlarge until the patient develops venous insufficiency, then varicose veins. These unsightly vessels have a rope-like appearance and are usually blue or purple.
Some varicose veins develop as a direct result of pregnancy. These often resolve on their own, without the need for medical intervention.
While there are a number of vein treatments to get rid of varicose vessels, no therapy can prevent new ones from forming. As a result, some patients return to a vein clinic periodically for additional treatments.
The first step toward varicose vein treatment is an initial consultation with a vein specialist. This physician will recommend the best treatment options.
How the Venefit Procedure Works
This technique was formerly called the VNUS Closure. Covidien, provider of the catheter used in the Venefit procedure, indicates that more than 20 percent of the population suffers from varicose veins or venous insufficiency. The procedure is a type of endovenous therapy.
According to Stony Brook Medicine, during endovenous therapy, vascular surgeons temporarily place a flexible, thin catheter inside the great saphenous vein in the leg to deliver heat. The technique uses radiofrequency (RF) energy to produce even heat. It is the only RF ablation therapy that uses this energy to destroy veins.
Vein doctors perform this procedure on an outpatient basis. The uniform heat warms collagen fibers to the point that they shrink, causing a targeted vessel to collapse, then close. Eventually, treated veins disappear.
Vascular surgeons are able to place the catheter precisely thanks to the use of ultrasound to guide them. After a varicose vein has closed, the body redirects blood that would normally flow through it to health veins nearby.
This type of therapy for varicose vessels has largely replaced older, more severe techniques like vein stripping. Physicians use a local anesthetic for this radiofrequency treatment, which usually takes an hour or less.
Vein doctors recommend this therapy to patients who are good candidates because it is quick and requires only a short recovery period. They urge individuals to start walking immediately after their treatment. Patients report returning to their usual daily activities soon after arriving home. Most experience little discomfort or bruising from this procedure.